Correlation between fecal egg count, presence of Strongylus vulgaris, and body score of feral horses on Fort Polk, Louisiana

Jennifer L. Cain, Katie Jarisch, Kevin R. Macaluso, Brandon E. Luedtke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Approximately 700 feral horses, dubbed “trespass horses” by the United States Army, occupy Fort Polk, Louisiana and the surrounding Kisatchie National Forest. These horses are considered a nuisance and hazard, and the military is seeking to remove the horses via adoption. The aim of this research was to evaluate the fecal egg count (FEC), body condition score (BCS), and the presence of Strongylus vulgaris within this previously unstudied horse population prior to removal. The feral horse data was compared to domestic horses living on a single farm in the same area. A modified McMaster FEC, Henneke body scoring via photography, and PCR were used to evaluate 10 domestic horses and 28 feral horses. A significantly higher FEC was identified for feral horses when compared to domestic horses (p = 0.004), and 69.2% of feral horses were positive for S. vulgaris while all domestic horses tested negative. Additionally, no correlation was found between FEC and BCS for domestic (p = 0.213) or feral (p = 0.099) horses, and no association was found between FEC and S. vulgaris presence (p = 0.21) or BCS and S. vulgaris presence (p = 0.52). This study provides insight into S. vulgaris and strongyle prevalence in a previously unstudied group of horses and indicates a need for anthelmintic treatment and monitoring of the feral horses once they are adopted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-17
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Feral
  • Horse
  • McMaster
  • Strongyle
  • Strongylus vulgaris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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