Acute small intestinal obstruction associated with Parascaris equorum infection in young horses: 25 cases (1985û2004)

Acute small intestinal obstruction associated with Parascaris equorum infection in young horses: 25 cases (1985û2004)
Peer reviewed


AIMS: To retrospectively evaluate the medical and surgical records of horses with acute small intestinal obstructions associated with Parascaris equorum infection; to describe the gastrointestinal lesions; and to determine the outcome of cases with such lesions.
METHODS: Records of 25 horses with acute small intestinal obstruction associated with P. equorum between 1985 and 2004 were reviewed to determine signalment, history, physical examination, surgical or post-mortem findings, and outcome.
RESULTS: All horses except one were less than 12 months old. Standardbreds were over-represented in the population studied. Sixteen horses (72%) had been administered anthelmintics, including pyrantel (n=8), ivermectin (n=7), and trichlorphon (n=1), within 24 h prior to the onset of colic. Of the 25 cases reviewed, 16 had simple obstructive ascarid impactions (SOAIs), and nine had complicated obstructive ascarid impaction (COAI) including volvulus (n=6) or intussusception (n=3), both concurrent with ascarid impaction of the small intestine. Short-term survival (discharge from hospital) occurred in 79% of horses treated for SOAI, and was 64% for all horses. Long-term survival (>1 year) occurred in 33% of horses with SOAI, and the overall long-term survival was 27% for all horses. Formation of adhesions was the most frequent finding associated with death for horses that did not survive long-term.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The incidence of anthelmintic treatment within 24 h of the onset of colic in this study population (72%) was higher than that previously reported. Resistance of P. equorum to ivermectin recently reported in Ontario may be associated with increased ascarid burdens, predisposing horses to ascarid impaction. The long-term survival of these horses was better than that reported previously.
KEY WORDS: Parascaris equorum, colic, anthelmintics, small intestine, obstruction, impaction, volvulus, intussusception

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