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Tapeworm infection linked to increased colic risk

The distinctive D-shaped egg of the tapeworm (Anoplocephala perfoliata). The dark circles in the picture are air bubbles.

The distinctive D-shaped egg of the tapeworm (Anoplocephala perfoliata). The dark circles in the picture are air bubbles. © Martin Krarup Nielsen

Swedish researchers have found a significant link between tapeworm infection and colic in horses.

Horses were 16 times more likely to have colic if tapeworm eggs were observed in their faeces, they found.

Helena Back and and her colleagues researched the relationship between tapeworm infection and colic.

The study involved 67 horses with colic and 67 horses with no recent history of colic, the latest issue of Equine Science Update reported.

Clinical cases were matched with horses of similar age, and with no history of colic in the previous year, that attended the clinic within a week of each colic case.

The researchers used a modified flotation technique to detect tapeworm eggs and a blood test to provide serological evidence of the degree of tapeworm infection.

They found a significant association between the presence of tapeworm eggs in dung in colic cases, with animals shedding tapeworm eggs in their faeces being 16 times more likely to have colic.

The authors concluded that tapeworm infection was a risk factor for colic in horses in Sweden.

The association between Anoplocephala perfoliata and colic in Swedish horses—A case control study
H. Back , A. Nyman, E. Osterman Lind
Veterinary Parasitology (2013) 197, pp 580–585

Equine Science Update

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