A mix of very fine – or micronized – coconut and onion pulp has been found to reduce worm burdens in horses.
The findings were reported in the January issue of Parasitology Research.
The German researchers said intense laboratory tests on experimentally infected mice and rats had shown that an ingested mixture of micronized onions and coconut pulp decreased substantially worm loads of trematodes, cestodes and nematodes.
As a result, feeding experiments were conducted on naturally infected sheep in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Germany, which showed treated animals grew up much better than untreated ones.
The average gain of body weight per animal was much better than untreated ones.
These experiments were repeated for the latest study with naturally infected sheep and horses in Germany.
The four researchers, led by Heinz Mehlhorn, a professor at University of Duesseldorf, used two types of professionally produced forage:
- A 700-gram mixture of 40 percent micronized onions, 40 percent coconut flakes and 20 percent glucose, with sugar beet and treacle.
- A 1.2-kilogram mixture of 25 percent coconut flakes, 25 percent micronized onions, and 50 percent of a muesli forage from Germany, consisting of some oils plus 20 different plant extracts and several vitamins.
Fecal egg counts were conducted on the first day, then on days three, five and ten.
All experiments showed that feeding for 10 days led either to the full disappearance of the previously existing worm load or at least to an enormous reduction.
When comparing the body weights of infected sheep before the start of the feeding and four weeks later, it was found that there was an increase of 5-8 kilograms (and average of 7.5 kilograms) in body weight in each treated animal, while non-treated ones had only weight increases between 0 and 5 kilograms (an average of 2.37 kilograms).
In the case of the horse treatment, the worm load decreased so enormously that mostly only single eggs or larvae were found in those horses that had accepted the onion-coconut food addition.
The abstract can be read here.
Jatzlau A, Abdel-Ghaffar F, Gliem G, Mehlhorn H. Nature helps: food addition of micronized coconut and onion reduced worm load in horses and sheep and increased body weight in sheep.
Parasitol Res. 2014 Jan;113(1):305-10. doi:
10.1007/s00436-013-3706-7. Epub 2013 Nov 24. PubMed PMID: 24271156.