The effect of Strongylus vulgaris larvae on equine intestinal myoelectrical activity

G. D. Lester*, J. R. Bolton, H. Cambridge, S. Thurgate

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    The myoelectrical activity of the ileum, caecum and large colon was monitored from Ag-AgCl bipolar recording electrodes in four conscious 'parasite-naive' weanling foals. All foals were inoculated with 1000 infective 3rd-stage Strongylus vulgaris larvae and alterations to the myoelectrical activity observed. The frequencies of caecal and colonic spike bursts increased significantly in all post infection periods coinciding with assumed larval penetration into the intestinal mucosa and migration through the vasculature. Peaks in caecal and colonic activity occurred at Days 1 to 5 post infection. In the caecum, peaks occurred again at Days 15 and 31 post infection, preceding similar rises in colonic spike burst frequency at Days 19 and 35. Longer term changes indicated a return towards pre-infection levels of activity suggesting smooth muscle adaptation to decreased blood flow. The analysis of caecal and colonic spike burst propagation indicated that the increases in burst frequency were not attributable to an increase in the propagation of spike bursts in any particular direction, but rather to proportional increases in all directions of activity. There was a slight decrease in the simple ileal spike burst frequency immediately post-infection. None of the experimental animals exhibited signs of abdominal pain during the trial, and there was no evidence of bowel infarction at post mortem examination despite the presence of severe parasite-induced arterial lesions. The results suggest that increased caecal and colonic motility is an important host response in susceptible foals exposed to S. vulgaris larvae.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8-13
    Number of pages6
    JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
    Issue number7 S
    Publication statusPublished - 1989


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