Frontiers in veterinary science2020; 7; 358; doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00358

Habronematidosis in Equids: Current Status, Advances, Future Challenges.

Abstract: Over the past few decades, among equine parasitoses caused by gastrointestinal nematodes, habronematidosis has been discontinuously studied worldwide. Habronematidosis is a parasitic disease distributed all over the world. It is caused by , and (Spirurida, Habronematidae), and it is maintained in the environment by muscid flies which act as intermediate hosts. At larval and adult stages these species live in the stomach of domestic and wild equids. However, the larvae can also be found on the skin, causing lesions known as "summer sores", and occasionally on other body areas, such as ocular and genital mucosa (muco-cutaneous habronematidosis) and lung, liver, brain parenchyma. Depending on the parasite's developmental stage and localization site, clinical signs vary from mild to severe. Habronematidosis is responsible for significant economic losses, mostly when sport horses are affected, because their performances are impaired and the infection can be unaesthetic. We used three on-line databases for searching the articles on habronematidosis according to the selected inclusion criteria; a total of 250 contributions, published between 1911 and 2020 were analyzed. This review summarizes the key features of pathogenesis, epizootiology, diagnosis, treatment, and control of habronematidosis, and highlights the current knownledge about its geographical distribution and spread. Anthelmintic drugs are the most widely-used tools against habronematidosis; given the known risk of anthelmintic resistance in some nematodes affecting horses, this aspect should also be explored for habronematidosis. Dedicated research is essential to fill gaps of knowledge and increase the understanding of habronematidosis to maximize equine health, reduce economic losses and sanitary impact associated with this parasitic infection.
Publication Date: 2020-07-03 PubMed ID: 32719812PubMed Central: PMC7347746DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00358Google Scholar: Lookup
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This research summary has been generated with artificial intelligence and may contain errors and omissions. Refer to the original study to confirm details provided. Submit correction.

This research paper provides a comprehensive review about the current knowledge of habronematidosis, a parasitic disease affecting equine species, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, impacts, treatment, and control methods. It also emphasizes the potential risk of anthelmintic resistance and discusses the importance of dedicated research to understand and manage this disease more effectively.

Understanding Habronematidosis

  • Habronematidosis is a parasitic disease affecting both domestic and wild equids (horses, donkeys, zebras). It is caused by gastrointestinal nematodes and is spread worldwide.
  • These nematodes reside in the stomach of equids during their larval and adult stages. Larvae can also dwell on the skin, causing “summer sores”, and occasionally, other areas such as ocular and genital mucosa and lung, liver, brain parenchyma.
  • The symptoms vary widely depending on the nematodes’ developmental stage and localization site, ranging from mild to severe.

Economic Impact of Habronematidosis

  • Habronematidosis has significant economic repercussions, especially when it affects sport horses. Their performance is impaired, and the visible infection can be aesthetically unpleasant.

Analysis of Previous Studies

  • The researchers used three online databases to gather articles on habronematidosis, selecting and analyzing a total of 250 contributions published between 1911 and 2020.

Key Areas of Habronematidosis Research

  • The paper does a detailed review of several aspects of habronematidosis, including its pathogenesis (how it develops), epizootiology (how it spreads among animal populations), diagnosis, treatment, control, and geographical distribution.

Concerns about Anthelmintic Resistance

  • Another area of concern is the potential risk of anthelmintic resistance developing amongst the nematodes that cause habronematidosis. Anthelmintic drugs are the primary method of treatment for this disease, making the risk of resistance a significant issue to address.

Call for Further Research

  • The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of further research into habronematidosis. A better understanding of this disease is needed to improve equine health, reduce economic losses, and mitigate the sanitary impact associated with this parasitic infection.

Cite This Article

Barlaam A, Traversa D, Papini R, Giangaspero A. (2020). Habronematidosis in Equids: Current Status, Advances, Future Challenges. Front Vet Sci, 7, 358.


ISSN: 2297-1769
NlmUniqueID: 101666658
Country: Switzerland
Language: English
Volume: 7
Pages: 358
PII: 358

Researcher Affiliations

Barlaam, Alessandra
  • Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.
Traversa, Donato
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.
Papini, Roberto
  • Department of Veterinary Science, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
Giangaspero, Annunziata
  • Department of Science of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy.


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