Methods: Faecal samples were collected from a foal of less than 2 months of age, and eggs of Strongyloides sp. were detected using the modified McMaster technique. DNA was extracted from purified eggs, and a partial fragment of the small subunit of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (18S) was characterised using polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing and phylogenetic methods.
Results: Microscopic examination of faeces revealed small ellipsoidal eggs typical of Strongyloides sp. The 18S sequence generated by PCR in this study revealed 98.4% identity with that of a reference sequence of S. westeri available from GenBank. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a polyphyletic clustering of S. westeri sequences.
Conclusion: This is the first study reporting the detection of DNA of Strongyloides sp. in faeces of a foal using a molecular phylogenetic approach targeting the variable region of 18S rDNA. It is anticipated that this study will allow future molecular epidemiological studies on S. westeri in horses.