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Parasitism (Gastrointestinal) in Horses

By

Allison J. Stewart

, BVSC (Hons), MS, DACVIM-LA, DACVECC, The University of Queensland

Last full review/revision Sep 2013 | Content last modified Sep 2013

Both large and small strongyles have been incriminated as a cause of chronic diarrhea in horses and foals. The condition associated with small strongyles in horses is termed cyathomostomiasis and has been reported to result in recurrent colic, diarrhea, and weight loss. (See Gastrointestinal Parasites of Horses.)

Giardiasis (see Giardiasis (Giardia)) has been reported in a limited number of cases as a cause of intermittent diarrhea in horses. However, Giardia can also be found in the feces of a small number of healthy horses and is rarely recognized as a cause of diarrhea in horses. Cryptosporidia (see Cryptosporidiosis) have been identified in the feces of both healthy and diarrheic foals. There is evidence that Cryptosporidium spp can cause diarrhea and even death in immunocompetent foals; cryptosporidia have been described as a cause of outbreaks of foal diarrhea on some farms.

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Test your knowledge

Colic in Horses
Colic is a simple term meaning abdominal pain. There are many causes of colic in horses, with treatments ranging from administration of pain medication to abdominal surgery. Signs of colic are variable and do not indicate which part of the gastrointestinal tract is involved. Which of the following clinical signs is easily recognized as a common sign of colic? 
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