Gower horse

Project Overview

What lives in your horse's gut?

Parasitic worms in horses are a significant health concern and their management is a constant challenge for owners. Once ingested, the common option for managing parasitic worms in horses is deworming with anthelmintic drugs. With the increasing risk of anthelmintic resistance in various parasites, it is urgent to find alternative solutions for parasite control. 

Our research aims to explore the intricate relationships between horse and pasture management, parasite infections and the gut microbiota (i.e. the system of micro-organisms in the gastro-intestinal tract) in order to: 

I) identify potential drivers of infection.

II) provide first insights into horse microbiome-parasite interactions.

We anticipate that this information will allow us to identify signatures of resilience to parasite infections within the gut microbiome and that this will then open novel avenues to improve resilience by promoting a healthy microbiome.

Project Aims

This project aims to study which factors alter the gut microbiome and parasite-microbiome relationships of horses in South West Wales.

We aim to identify the best strategies to keep horses healthy and understand how gut health can be restored when they are sick.

Project Participation

Horse and livery yard owners in South West Wales can support our study by:

1) supporting us collecting fresh fecal samples from their horses

2) filling in the two questionnaires below

If you want to participate or if you want to have more information about the project, contact us!

Student collecting horse fecal samples
Test tube
Two horses on the Gower

Contact us

Alessandra Giacomini is a PhD student at Swansea University.

Contact Alessandra: horsehealth@swansea.ac.uk