Synopsis: Why horse poop inspectors struggle to find small strongyles
Episode three in “The Parasite Journey of the Horse” series by equine parasitologist Martin Nielsen takes a look at small strongyles, or in science-speak, Cyathostomins.
These worms are very, very small, and horse owners who revel in searching for them in their horse’s poop will be hard-pressed to see anything. “You’re going to struggle to find these, because they’re going to be mixed in with the feces, and that makes it really hard to see them.
“Horses may have a hundred thousand of these, but you may not see them at all. So that is not the best diagnostic method. It’s fine to check the horse’s poop — I do it all the time, it’s a hobby of mine — but we just have to be aware that the smaller worms, we could miss,” Nielsen says.
These tiny parasites have a fascinating life cycle, and a couple of unique features, including a sort of hibernation, Nielsen says.
Watch the video to learn more!
Nielsen’s videos fall into one of three categories: short videos addressing common misconceptions about parasite control; longer educational videos outlining important concepts in parasite control; and videos that inform viewers about current findings, research needs and the importance of UK’s equine research herds.
“As a university researcher, I have an obligation to communicate about my area of research to the public. I am constantly searching for the most efficient way to do so. In this day and age, it seems obvious to communicate about these things on social media,” Nielsen said.
“I hope to get some useful information into the hands of horse owners, farm managers and equine veterinarians — and to build some awareness about some of the work we do at the Gluck Center.
“I wanted to try to address common misconceptions and myths in equine parasite control. In this series, I’ll address one myth or misconception at a time and in 45 seconds or less, I will explain why it is exactly that — a myth or misconception. These will be interspersed with a few longer videos providing more background information and highlighting recent research findings.”