Curcumin shows no effect on parasite shedding in horses in pilot study

Evidence of an anti-inflammatory effect was seen in horses given curcumin daily for 30 days. Photo: BroviPL, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Evidence of an anti-inflammatory effect was seen in horses given curcumin daily for 30 days. Photo: BroviPL, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Curcumin had no noticeable effect on the shedding of major parasites from the gut of horses in an American pilot study, although blood testing indicated it may reduce inflammation.

A study team from Southern Illinois University set out to evaluate the effects of the yellow agent on intestinal parasites, inflammation, and the fecal shedding of opportunistic bacteria found in the gut of horses − the Streptococcus bovis/equinus complex, Clostridium difficile and Clostridium perfringens.

Curcimin is known for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic properties, and the study team hypothezed it would benefit horses in these areas.

Samantha Wuest, Rebecca Atkinson and Stephanie Bland used 12 horses, divided equally into two groups. One group received no curcumin while the other six each received a daily dose of 15 grams of 95% pure curcumin over the 30-day study period.

Fecal samples were tested for the shedding of parasites and blood samples were evaluated for erythrocyte sedimentation rate as an indicator of inflammation.

The researchers, writing in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, found that the curcumin had no noticeable effect on the shedding of strongyles and ascarid ova, nor any effect on concentrations of the fecal microbial strains for which they tested.

However, they found that the ethrocyte sedimentation rate decreased on day 14 in the horses receiving curcumin, indicating a possible positive effect against inflammation.

“Curcumin was not an effective compound against intestinal parasites or fecal microbial strains examined when administered for 30 days; but could potentially decrease inflammation,” the study team concluded.

“Curcumin has been observed to have many beneficial effects in other species, however, more research is needed to evaluate those benefits in horses,” they added.

A Pilot Study on the Effects of Curcumin on Parasites, Inflammation, and Opportunistic Bacteria in Riding Horses
S. Wuest, R.L. Atkinson, S.D. Bland
Journal of Equine Veterinary Science DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2017.06.010

The abstract of the study can be read here

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