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    All horses are susceptible to the equine gastrointestinal parasite, Strongylus vulgaris, which is known to cause significant disease and death. The parasite undergoes development from the egg through the first (L1), second (L2) and third (L3) larval stages outside the horse. The L3 is the infective stage. The universally available technique for detection of S. vulgaris larvae is the larval culture method. This requires a 10-14 day culture period to induce development from egg to L3, followed by Baermannization and identification of the L3s to genus and/or species. It is unknown if the culture duration is necessary or ideal for S. vulgaris identification. The purpose of this study was to perform daily examinations of known S. vulgaris positive fecal samples in coproculture. Fresh feces were collected from a horse known to be shedding S. vulgaris eggs. A total of 140 cultures were set up using 10 g of feces. Cultures remained at room temperature and moistened every other day. Every day, 10 samples were examined, and all larvae were identified to stage, genus/species, and enumerated. Throughout the study, L1, L2, and L3 stages were observed, and S. vulgaris, Strongylus edentatus, Triodontophorus spp., and cyathostomin L3s were identified. Third stage larvae were observed on Day 5, and the mean number of L3s significantly increased on Day 10 (P < .001), and declined thereafter. Strongylus vulgaris was first observed on Day 6 with a mean count of 4.1 (95 % CI: 1.1, 7.1) S. vulgaris larvae, accounting for 4.1 % (95 % CI:1.8, 7) of the total L3s observed. The number of S. vulgaris larvae was significantly higher on Day 10 with a mean of 156.8 (95 % CI: 120.7, 192.9) S. vulgaris larvae (P < .001), and the proportion was also significantly higher with S. vulgaris comprising 50 % (95 % CI: 45.9, 54.8) (P = .006) of the total larvae. However, after 10 days, the mean number of S. vulgaris larvae declined, as did the proportion of S. vulgaris larvae compared to the total number of larvae. Using the described methods, it is possible to identify S. vulgaris as early as 6 days, and the optimal period is 10 days to detect the maximum number of S. vulgaris. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Jessica A Scare Kenealy, Ashely E Steuer. Reviving a tradition: The Development of Strongylus vulgaris in larval culture. Veterinary parasitology. 2021 Dec;300:109619

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    PMID: 34839176

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