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Old 09-03-2008, 03:47 PM  
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Neck Threadworms??

Anybody have experience with this? I'd like to know what it looks like, treatment for the NTW as well as treatment for the symptoms.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:14 PM  
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There was a good thread going on in the "Chronicle of the horse" bulletin board about it. Apparently the site is down at the moment or I would post the link to it.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:23 PM  
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I have actually never heard of neck thread worm? I will have to check it out and add it to my ever growing list of equine knowledge... You know that list that is never ending and ever growing...
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:39 PM  
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Neck Threadworms (Onchocerca cervicalis)
Scientific name: Onchocerca Common name: Neck threadworms

Physical description of parasite: Neck threadworms are long and coiled. The male of the species is shorter, being 6 to 7 cm long and the female being up to 30 cm long.

Stages/lifecycles: Unlike many of the other worms that affect horses, the neck threadworm has an indirect life cycle. That means the parasite depends on another organism to get it to the horse. In the case of neck threadworms, that other species is the biting midge. The neck threadworm microfilariae live in the tissue under the horse's skin and are picked up by the midge when it feeds on the horse. The microfilariae develop to infective larvae in the midge's mouth within 25 days. The midge bites the horse again.

How the parasite enters the horse's system: The horse is bitten by an infected midge. The larvae are deposited into the bite wound. They travel to the ligaments in the neck and can also be found in the flexor tendons and suspensory ligaments, particularly of the forelegs.

Effects of parasite if left untreated: Adult worms in the ligaments and tendons cause swelling and pain. There can also be bumps under the skin on ligaments and tendons caused by the hardening of dead worms. If these bumps disable the horse, surgery may be necessary. The presence of the adult worms may also cause lameness and swelling of the ligaments.

The microfilariae may invade the lens of the eye, causing irritation, swelling and sometimes blindness. The microfilariae in the tissue under the skin may also cause skin irritation.


Get with your Vet if you suspect this, it will need agressive treatment.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:47 PM  
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From what I understand the treatment is a double dose of Equimax followed up with another double dose two weeks after the initial dose.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:11 PM  
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Thought you may find this interesting as well as informative....I would again consult the Vet, may save secondary issues as well as time and money.


Ironically for horse owners, onchocerca can sometimes first be identified by the onset of symptoms following worming with ivermectin. This is one drug that will effectively kill off the young microfilariae, but at the same time by doing its job it can initiate uveitis if a large quantity of the microfilariae are in the eye at the time of worming. After uveitis has started, some owners find that administering bute or banamine several days before and after worming can control the inflammation so that the uveitis does not flare up every time the horse is wormed. This also might indicate that in dealing with abandoned or abused horses who may not have been wormed on a regular basis, consulting a veterinarian regarding the possibility of onchocerca microfilariae in the eye before worming may prevent uveitis in addition to its other problems. A conjunctival biopsy can be used to identify onchocerca microfilariae in the eye, but it does involve using auriculopalpebral nerve block and topical anesthesia. Once the inflammation has quieted, treatment can commence. Diethylcarbamazine and ivermectin are two drugs that are used (Cook, 1983)." Equine Recurrent Uveitis

You will see a constant water stream out of the eye or eyes. There may be a white or yellow mucous in the eye on a regular basis. Many times vets will think this is a blocked tear duct. Again, there may be hair loss around the face and eye area. Ivermectin is the conventional treatment, but it did not really work for our horses. My vet of 24 years, was an incredible vet. She had a diagnostic sense unlike any that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, she is not in private practice any more. We surely miss her. She had a way of thinking outside the box. We had Wedgewood Pharmacy compound a pill for our horses that has worked really well after the Ivermectin did not. It is called Diethylcarbamazine Citrate. The capsules are each 400 mg. It is basically heart worm medicine compounded into capsule form. We open two capsules, once a week, and place the powder in a cup of sweet feed and the horse eats it. No problem! Spring time is when the Onchocera becomes most active. This has worked for both horses. You can discuss this with your vet. If not managed, complications can be blindness if in the eyes, and if left untreated, adult worms can travel into the ligaments and tendons of the horse. The horse may eventually fall and stumble. They can cause swelling and bumps because of the hardening of dead worms.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:05 AM  
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About 20 years ago one of my horses got this. The first I knew of it was when grooming him I found an elongated lump on his neck. Got the vet out when it didn't go away in a day or 2.

The cure at the time was Dimitrol G a product used to kill heartworm in dogs.

I believe that now modern wormers are used against it.
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