Parasitol Res (2012) 110:335–339DOI 10.1007/s00436-011-2495-0 Observations on effects of a neem seed extract (MiteStop®)on biting lice (mallophages) and bloodsucking insectsparasitizing horses Saleh Al-Quraishy & Fathy Abdel-Ghaffar &Khaled A. S. Al-Rasheid & Julia Mehlhorn &Heinz Mehlhorn Received: 26 May 2011 / Accepted: 10 June 2011 / Published online: 22 June 2011 Abstract The hair of 300 horses belonging to short hair and was noted to last for up to 7 days if the horses were not long hair races had been routinely treated during the last 3 years with a neem seed extract (MiteStop®) in order to killmallophages (e.g., specimens of the genus Werneckiella). Itwas found that in all cases, a hidden infestation with these biting lice had existed, which became visible when theproduct (diluted 1:20 with tap water) was brushed onto the The name of the specimens of the insect order Mallophaga hair. The mallophages left the body surface and became comes from the Greek words for “wool eater,” although visible as a fine “wooly looking” layer at the tips of the hair.
they do not eat wool but live on the surface of the skin of Furthermore, this treatment stopped the forming of dandruff mammalian animals and on the skin as well as among the of the skin of the horses, which, in case of heavy mallophage feathers of birds, feed on skin scales and feather coverings, infestations, had looked like being powdered. Another and/or even lick blood—being very host specific (Zlotorzycka interesting result of the treatment was reported by the riders.
et al. With respect to their living sites, there are two They described that the product had a considerable repellent basic groups (“hairlings” and “featherlings”), which parasit- effect on bloodsucking tabanids, mosquitoes, ceratopogonids, ize either the hair of mammalians or the feathers of birds.
simuliids, as well as on licking flies. This repellency effect With respect to the arrangement of their chewing mouthparts(mandibles) and their paired, rather short antennae, there aretwo groups (suborders): Amblycera (they possess antennae mostly with five segments each lying in a groove along the Department of Zoology, College of Science, lateral side of the broad head, and their mandibles bite horizontally), while in the case of the suborder Ischnocera, the antennae with 3–5 segments remain clearly visible, and the mandibles bite vertically. Different species of both the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, hairlings and featherlings belong either to the suborders The most important mallophage of horses—Werneckiella C. & O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research, equi equi—belongs to the order Ischnocera and is found worldwide, since horses were distributed onto each conti- nent as means of transport since thousands of years and with them traveled their parasites and other agents of diseases (Murray Arundel ; Moreby ; Perris Düsseldorf, Germanye-mail: [email protected] ; Foil and Foil The recently finally accepted species Werneckiella equi (Price et al. 2003) has many synonyms in older literature and was placed before in thegenera Damalinia, Trichodectes, or Bovicola. The malloph- The product was freshly diluted prior to use: 100 ml of the ages of mammalian hosts and thus W. equi are mostly product was placed in a bowl and covered by about 2 l of hidden at the bases of hair, so that mass reproduction is tap water. After some stirring with a brush or a sponge, this only seen at the late state when skin and/or hair have 2 l of ready-to-use solution was brought onto the hair, so already severe damage. Therefore, the prevention of such that the whole body was wet from the upper side of the large populations is needed, which grow mostly during hooves to the back, head, and face. Afterwards, it was winter after infestations were acquired during summer on controlled what happened. The horse owners reported their the meadow by contact with other infested hosts or by observations to the distributor and ordered further material.
using the same equipment (e.g., equipment or blankets; The family owned horses of the authors and those of Jones and DiPietro ). In cases in which animals have neighboring riding stables were personally treated and further hidden diseases, the population of the hairlings may inspected by the authors. In heavy infestations, the reach more than one million per horse or cow. Therefore, treatment was repeated twice at 1-week intervals, which regular schemes of treatment seem reasonable to prevent were noted due to appearance of numerous dead malloph- severe scabies-like skin appearances (focal alopecia, scal- ages at the tips of the hair after the first treatment.
ing, crusts, excoriations, exudations, hair loss; Larsen et al.
; Fadok and/or even transmission of the RNAviruses of infectious anemia worldwide in endemic regions.
In general, the treatment of horses against mallophages isdone by body washing with typical insecticides (pyreth- During wintertime when the horses were in stables, the roids, carbamates, fipronil, triflumuron, avermectines, number of mallophages increased—apparently due to an imidacloprid, etc.; Rommel ; Eckert et al. infestation by body contacts with other horses in the late phase of the summer and after the last treatments or by sharing riding equipment with other horses. All horses of Sorrell et al. which in general requires a second the present study were kept under good conditions; but treatment due to the fact that the nits glued to the hair are nevertheless, they were found to be more or less intensely not or poorly affected. The present paper reports the infested. This was diagnosed by intense combing/brushing effects of a biological insecticide based on a neem seed extract (MiteStop®) that has been shown to have a broad Although in some publications it is claimed that malloph- range of efficacy against many species of ticks, mites, and ages mainly occur at special places (such as along the head, neck, and lateral sides, but not at the lower limbs, tail, andears), the present study showed their presence at merely allportions of the body. However, clearly visible dermatological symptoms such as alopecia, scaling, excoriations, exudations,crusts, lesions, etc., which might attract licking flies (and thus potential transmitters of agents of diseases), were scarce evenin heavily infested horses. On the other hand, mallophage- MiteStop® is a concentrate of a neem seed extract infested places of the fur led to skin reactions such as local developed by the university spin-off company Alpha- trembling when these places are touched. This was apparently Biocare (Düsseldorf, Germany). It is classified as a a sign of pruritus or peculiar sensitivity at these places. When biocide of the EU class 18. This concentrated water-free inspecting the hair of the horses, in general, different extract was freshly diluted 1:20 with tap water just prior developing stages (nits, larvae, adults) of the species W. equi equi were observed (Fig. ). This species belongs to the orderof Ischnocera (= from Greek: with tiny horns = antennae).
These adult stages were characterized by their typical broadhead with a rounded anterior front and one pair of eyes at the Three-hundred horses belonging to long and short hair head as well as by their large spiracles at the lateral sides of races were treated each several times per year during the the segments of the abdomen. The mallophages measured last 3 years with the product beginning in springtime until about 1.6 mm in the case of the rare males and 1.8–2 mm in early December, when most of the outdoor bloodsuckers females, while their heads reached a diameter of 0.3 mm being nearly as broad as the broadest region of the dorsal- had migrated from the body surface to the tips of the hair tion of a female Werneckiellamallophage containing an egg before being killed. Due to this effect, the hair appeared“wooly twisted.” When using a dry brush, the chitinouscarcasses of the mallophages could be combed down. Whenthey were collected on a towel, they appeared very dry.
When combing the mallophages down in heavy infestations,a large amount of dandruff was also removed. It was notedby the researchers and by the different rider groups that evena single treatment reduced considerably the formation ofdandruff, which was even more reduced if the treatment wasrepeated twice at intervals of 1 week. Apparently, thetreatment stopped also the development of the larvae in thenits, since in treated horses, it took months until aconsiderable infestation was noted again. This fact isremarkable, since the normal development inside the eggs ventrally flattened, but if fed, the ton-like swollen abdominal takes only 5–10 days (Arundel , being followed by a body consists of eight visible segments. Embryological 2-week period to reach the adult stages (Martini ; studies indicated that there had been ten anlagen of full Mehlhorn ), which live for about 1–2 months. The abdominal segments, of which the first was reduced, while females produce mostly in total about 100 eggs which segments 8 and 9 were apparently fused, so that only eight Practically all users reported that the application of the The above-described treatment with MiteStop® led to product MiteStop® led, in addition to its insecticidal the observation that about 1 h after the application of the activity, to a considerable repellency of tabanids, other product to the hair, the tips of the latter were spotted with bloodsucking insects, ticks, and even flies, when applica- remnants of the bodies of the mallophages which apparently tion of the product was done in midsummer prior to a ride.
Table 1 Use of insecticides in the treatment against horse mallophages as a continuous strip byhelp of a syringe The typical insecticides are mostly not registered for horses, but for cattle. Therefore, the veterinarian has to use them “off label”p.t. post treatment It was furthermore reported that this protection was even in mass infestations (which often occur under bad persistent at least for 3 days; in some cases, even repellency containment conditions of the horses). This led to the fact that the industry did not care intensely for the development In addition, there were observations that treated horses of peculiar anti-lice products for horses. Therefore, true were apparently not attacked by the so-called autumn mites insecticides being used in other animals were adapted in (the larvae of the mite species Neotrombicula autumnalis), doses and in the way of treatment for horses (Table which suck lymph just above the hooves and thus introduce Especially phoxim and imidacloprid but also permethrin numerous severely itching wounds. Several other users also and triflumuron had been intensively tested to be useful for reported that in those cases, when horses had lesions along the upper side of the hooves—apparently due to infections Hanssen et al. ; Sorrell et al. ; Lowden et al.
with fungi and/or bacteria—healing occurred during the ). Applications of other insecticides (used and regis- tered for cattle) are also reported in these papers and in thetextbooks of (Rommel and Eckert et al. (However, all these true insecticides can only be obtained by prescription of a veterinarian. This is apparently anobstacle, which prevents riders to treat this rather inappar- Animals on the meadow are attacked by a large variety of ent but in any way important dermatosis.
bloodsucking or licking ectoparasites belonging to the The neem seed extract (MiteStop®), which has a broad groups of ticks, mites, and insects. These ectoparasites, range of efficacies (Schmahl et al. ), is on the other hand often occurring in huge numbers, may parasitize for a few freely available in horse supply shops and has, in addition, minutes (temporarily) such as mosquitoes and flies, stay the advantages that it repels biting insects and ticks and some days such as ticks, or even permanently such as apparently has reducing effects on wounds along the hooves.
bloodsucking lice (Anoplura) or biting lice (Mallophaga) Furthermore, the positive effect of a treatment can be seen (Hansen and Londershausen Mehlhorn et al. soon after the treatment, since apparently the compound makes the mallophages crawl onto the tips of the hair just flying from one host to the other or ticks with a regular before they die. Since 10% of the active ingredient of change of hosts (as all temporary ectoparasites) have MiteStop® is also included in shampoos against human head developed the potential to transmit agents of diseases, lice (Abdel-Ghaffar and Semmler Heukelbach et al.
permanent parasites such as lice are less often vectors of Abdel-Ghaffar et al. the efficacy of MiteStop® parasites, bacteria, or viruses (Mehlhorn ; Aspöck against the bloodsucking lice of horses (Haematopinus asini) ). However, mass infestations with ectoparasites may is also given, although in the present study, there was no introduce severe clinical signs of different types of search for these parasites, which might introduce consider- dermatosis due to their biting and/or bloodsucking activi- able blood loss in case that they occur in larger numbers.
ties. These diseases were connected with loss of blood,restlessness, skin pain, itching, exudations, and/or lesionsmostly leading to considerable loss of weight and/or loss of We gratefully acknowledge the support of the general fitness, which may make them more easy victims of Center of Excellence of the College of Science at King SaudUniversity, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
severe infectious diseases, while the latter would run muchmore smoothly in non-infested animals.
The mallophages of the present study (W. equi equi) are underestimated parasites of horses, since they are muchmore common than believed. The reasons for this neglect Abdel-Ghaffar F, Semmler M (2007) Efficacy of neem seed extract are that they are even as adults very tiny (1.6–2 mm) and shampoo on head lice of naturally infected humans in Egypt.
thus are poorly seen with the naked eye, that they stay close to the skin, and that they have a fast grip with their legs Abdel-Ghaffar F, Semmler M, Al-Rasheid K, Klimpel S, Mehlhorn H (each with one claw) at the hair, so that even brushing will (2010) Comparative in-vitro test on the efficacy and safety of 13anti-head-lice products. Parasitol Res 106:423–249 not remove them easily from the hair. In contrast to Arundel JH (1985) Parasitic diseases of the horse. Vet Rev 28:92–93 Werneckiella equi asini—the mallophage of donkeys—W.
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