Shropshire student dedicates her work to study horse parasites

By Lisa O'Brien | Newport | Education | Published:

A parasitic horse condition that has not been studied in depth in the UK since the 1970s is the focus of research being conducted by a final year bioveterinary science student at Newport's Harper Adams University.

Sarah Mansell

The adults of the onchocerca cervicalis parasite, commonly referred to as neck thread worm, live in the horse’s neck with the larvae causing the most damage, eliciting symptoms similar to a number of other common skin conditions associated with the animal.

Student Sarah Mansell, 21, from Bridgnorth, is asking vets to fill out a short questionnaire to assess awareness of onchocerca cervicalis in modern veterinary practices.

She said: “Hopefully the findings will raise awareness of this problem and help shape future research in this area. Little research has been done on onchocerca cervicalis in the UK since the 1970s because the symptoms can be controlled by routine worming measures.”

However, as the industry moves away from those measures, to reduce the risk of parasites developing resistances to treatments, such conditions – currently considered quite rare in the UK – could start to re-emerge.

Sarah added: “I want to get vets thinking about this issue much more than perhaps they are at the moment.”

The study includes specific questions about onchocerca cervicalis as well as questions on cases of unresponsive skin conditions because a similarity in symptoms can lead to misdiagnoses that could, in fact, turn out to be onchocerca cervicalis.”

Any UK vets interested in taking part can find the questionnaire at

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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