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Parasitism: Interpretation of Laboratory Data

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Infestations with large ( Strongylus vulgaris and Triodontophorus ) and small strongyles ( Cyathostomum and related genera ) are among the most common causes of intestinal disease in horses, Weight loss, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea are common clinical signs.

The interpretation of laboratory data can help confirm parasitism in the horse.

Nonregenerative anemia and hyperglobulinemia often result from chronic intestinal inflammation due to parasitism. Regenerative anemia and decreased serum protein concentration occasionally result from intestinal blood loss. Horses do not commonly develop eosinophilia due to parasitism. Severe illness may decrease feed and water intake, leading to hemoconcentration, prerenal azotemia, and hypokalemia. Intestinal or colonic wall inflammation ( colitis ) can allow absorption of endotoxin, causing neutropenia, a left shift, toxic changes, increased plasma fibrinogen, and intestinal protein loss.

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