File(s) not publicly available

A model for the development and growth of the parasitic stages of Parascaris spp. in the horse.

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 12:22 authored by Dave LeathwickDave Leathwick, Christian SauermannChristian Sauermann, John Donecker, Martin Nielsen
Literature documenting the growth and development of Parascaris spp. infections was used to develop a model describing worm dynamics in the young horse. The model incorporates four main variables; the rate at which larvae migrate through host tissues to return to the small intestine, the proportion of migrating larvae which succeed in returning to the small intestine, the rate of growth in size of maturing and adult worms and the survival rate of maturing and adult worms. In addition, the number of eggs laid each day by adult female worms is calculated as a function of worm size (length) and is used to calculate faecal egg output of the foal. Published data describing the rate of migration through host tissues, and the growth of worms following their return to the small intestine, was used to derive relationships describing these processes. However, only limited data exists relating the survival of migrating larvae and mature worms in the intestine to host age and experience of infection. Therefore, relationships and coefficients describing these variables were modified so that output aligned with published experimental results. As a consequence, the model has not yet been evaluated against an independent data set, and so remains as the best ‘current hypothesis’ for the dynamics of this parasite. Hopefully, future experiments designed to test specific assumptions and outputs of the model will lead to a better understanding of the biology of this important parasite. For example, the most influential variable in determining model output is the survival rate of worms in the small intestine. In the model, worm survival declines in response to both the increasing age of the horse and the increasing cumulative length of worms in the intestine (used as a proxy for crowding). Given the importance of this variable to model behaviour and the paucity of experimental data on this topic this would seem a priority for future study. Initial experiments using the model suggest that a single anthelmintic treatment, administered soon after patency of initial infection, may effectively control environmental contamination with Parascaris spp. eggs while allowing a small ‘refugia’ of susceptibility to delay the emergence of anthelmintic resistance. Further evaluations of the practicality of this approach may be worthwhile.


Rights statement

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title

Veterinary Parasitology




Leathwick, D. M., Sauermann, C. W., Donecker, J. M., & Nielsen, M. K. (2016). A model for the development and growth of the parasitic stages of Parascaris spp. in the horse. Veterinary Parasitology, 228, 108–115. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2016.08.019

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager