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A Pilot Study on the Effects of Curcumin on Parasites, Inflammation, and Opportunistic Bacteria in Riding Horses

Wuest, Samantha, Atkinson, Rebecca L., Bland, Stephanie D., Hastings, Darcie
Journal of equine veterinary science 2017 v.57 pp. 46-50
Ascarididae, Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, Streptococcus bovis, Strongylidae, antiparasitic properties, bacteria, blood sampling, curcumin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, fecal egg count, feces, horses, inflammation, ova, parasites
Twelve riding horses were used to examine the effects of curcumin on intestinal parasites, inflammation, and the fecal shedding of Streptococcus bovis/equinus complex (SBEC), Clostridium difficile, and Clostridium perfringens. Known for having anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiparasitic properties, it was hypothesized that curcumin would decrease parasite shedding, inflammation, and opportunistic bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of riding horses. Horses were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments (n = 6 per treatment): (1) no curcumin, control; or (2) 15 g of 95% pure curcumin (CUR). Curcumin was dosed per day for 30 days. Fecal samples were evaluated for shedding of ova and concentrations of selected bacteria. Blood samples taken pre- and postriding intervals and evaluated for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) for inflammation. All data were analyzed for repeated measures. Treatment had no effect (P ≥ .58) on total fecal egg count, strongyles, or ascarids. Treatment had no effect on ESR (P ≤ .42); however, ESR decreased (P = .0006) on day 14 in CUR horses. Treatment had no effect (P ≥ .34) on concentrations of SBEC, C. difficile, or C. perfringens. Curcumin was not an effective compound against intestinal parasites or fecal microbial strains examined when administered for 30 days; but could potentially decrease inflammation. Curcumin has been observed to have many beneficial effects in other species; however, more research is needed to evaluate those benefits in horses.