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Tapeworm

Anoplocephala perfoliata

Tapeworm could be responsible for up to 20% of surgical colic. Infection is more prevalent in parts of the country with acidic soils.  This favours the survival of the intermediate host, the forage mite.

Size Appearance

Up to 20cm long, white in colour.  Wedge shaped and finely segmented. Rarer specie can be up to 80cm long.

Location In Horse

Tapeworm attach themselves to the junction of the large and small intestine.  They cause bowel irritation, rupture or twisting of the intestine

Symptoms

Digestive disturbances
Poor Growth
Unthriftiness
Ileal impaction and spasmodic colic
Hair Loss
Fatal perforation of the intestine

Life Cycle

Other tapeworm lifecycles include the dog as the definitive host.

E.granulosus strain 1 The small tapeworm lives in the intestines of dogs and eggs are passed in the dogs faeces.  Horses eat the eggs and a cyst develops, usually in the liver.  Dogs are infected when they are fed raw horsemeat.  This makes it common in packs of foxhounds and beagles.  Fields over which the hounds hunt can become contaminated.

E. granulosus strain 2 This strain excludes the horse and the life cycle includes the dog as the definitive host and the sheep as the intermediate host.  Dogs are infected when they eat raw sheep’s meat.    Humans can become infected by accidentally ingesting the eggs passed out in dog faeces.  This is more commonly children when they play in the grass and then eat food without washing their hands.

There is not any link between any tapeworm that involve the horse in the lifecycle and humans.

Treatment

The only way to treat tapeworm is with anthelmintics (wormers) containing the chemical praziquantel or pyrantel embonate at 38mg / kg.

Strongid P  (double dose)
Pyratape P  (double dose)
Exodus  (double dose)
Embotape  (double dose)
Equitape
Equimax
Eqvalan Duo
Equest Pramox