Anthelmintic treatment in horses: The extra-label use of products and the danger of under-dosing
Anthelmintic products form the basis of helminth control practices on horse stud farms at present. Regular evaluation of the efficacy of these products is advisable, as it will provide information on the worm egg reappearance period and the resistance status in the worm population. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of doramectin, pyrantel pamoate, ivermectin and moxidectin on a Thoroughbred stud farm in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The study also compared the anthelmintic efficacy of two moxidectin formulations administered at their recommended dosages (an injectable, at 0.2 mg/kg, not registered for horses, and an oral gel at 0.4 mg/kg, registered for horses). Two mixed-sex groups of 30 yearlings and 40 weaners were tested in 2001 and 2002, respectively, divided into 3 and 4 groups of equal size. In 2001, moxidectin was one of 3 drugs administered orally and at a dose rate of 0.4 mg/kg. In 2002, pyrantel pamoate and ivermectin were orally administered at 19 and 0.2 mg/kg. Moxidectin and doramectin (the latter not registered for horses) were administered by intramuscular injection at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg, the dosage registered for other host species. The faecal egg count reduction test was used to determine the anthelmintic efficacies in both years. Each animal acted as its own control and the arithmetic mean faecal egg count and lower 95 % confidence limit was calculated for each of the groups. A 100 % reduction in the faecal egg counts and a 100 % lower 95 % confidence limit was recorded for moxidectin (0.4 mg/kg) in 2001. In 2002, a 99 % and 96 % reduction was recorded for pyrantel pamoate and ivermectin, respectively. In the same year doramectin and moxidectin (both injectable and given at 0.2 mg/kg) did not have any effect on worm egg counts. Of the 4 drugs tested in 2002, only pyrantel pamoate recorded lower 95 % confidence limits above 90 %.