Endoparasite infection and Cryptosporidium/Giardia in feral horses on public lands

R. E. Bray, S. J. Wickler, E. A. Cogger, Edward R Atwill, C. London, J. L. Gallino, T. P. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Two populations of feral horses and one population of domestic horses located in portions of eastern California and western Nevada (Inyo National Forest) were examined for the occurrence of endoparasite infection and the protozoans, Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis. The two groups of feral horses consisted of 24 sedentary horses and 29 nomadic horses; there were a total of 11 domestic horses. The sedentary and nomadic horses were tracked and observed for one to three days, respectively. Fresh fecal samples were collected from the respective groups and examined for parasite eggs using the Cornell-Wisconsin Centrifugal Flotation Technique. A total of 58 fecal samples were collected from the three groups (sedentary, n = 16; nomadic, n = 31; domestic, n = 11). Data (eggs·g-1) were initially analyzed using the Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric statistical method. Mean separation was accomplished by using the Mann-Whitney U-test following an observed significant effect of group (p < 0.0001) with the Kruskal-Wallis test. The median numbers of eggs·g-1 for the sedentary, nomadic and domestic groups were 803.0, 69.0 and 321.0, respectively. The interquartile range along with the 25th and 75th percentile for the respective groups were 776.0 (332.0-1108.0), 136.5 (32.0-168.5) and 486.0 (198.0-684.0). The eggs·g-1 for the nomadic group were less than the sedentary horses (p < 0.0001) and less than the domestic horses (p < 0.02); however, there were no observed differences between the sedentary and domestic groups (p = 0.13). The lower number of eggs·g-1 observed for the nomadic group is most likely due to the reduced time spent on the collection site relative to their movement pattern. Separate aliquots of the fecal samples were also analyzed for Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis. All fecal samples were negative for these two organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-43
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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