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Dr. Martin K. Nielsen works as an equine veterinarian researching parasites. He talks about his mission to control parasites in horses through helminths treatment.

In this podcast, he explains

  • anthelmintic resistance in horses and what it means regarding a horse’s health;
  • why a  parasite’s life cycle still holds a great deal of mystery for scientists, but what they might think is significant; and 
  • why pharmaceutical companies haven’t released new anthelmintic products for years and why they need to.

 

Dr. Martin K. Nielsen is an associate professor with the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. The center takes on key issues regarding horse biology, but he specializes on helminths treatment, which means he also researches anthelmintic resistance in horses. Dr. Nielsen affirms the ubiquitous nature of parasites in animals and also emphasizes that there’s no such thing as eradication.

Rather, he says, it’s important to seek means of control and balance. When a healthy equilibrium is lost, the host animal suffers. Because today’s veterinarian faces the challenge of anthelmintic resistance in horses, researchers are working on finding new means of controlling the parasite population.

This podcast also offers Dr. Nielsen an opportunity to discuss some of the mysteries of parasites, such as their ability to release compounds that deescalate their host’s inflammatory immune response. Parasites also exhibit a dormant state over their lifecycle and researchers are trying to understand if this is triggered by the parasite or the host, and in either case, what benefit it may offer the organism. He also describes some new detection technology his lab has created to identify parasite counts through a special app. 

Dr. Nielsen is active in social media and encourages listeners to find him on Twitter (@MartinKNielsen) and at his YouTube channel (Martin K. Nielsen Equine Parasitology), where he takes on parasite myths among other topics.

His lab page at the university also has more information: http://vetsci.ca.uky.edu/person/martin-nielsen-dvm-phd-dipl-acvm-dipl-evpc

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