The development of acquired resistance to cyathostome challenge after 1 season's exposure to a cyathostome-contaminated pasture was investigated using 17 parasite-naive ponies, which were 2–3 yr of age. These were divided into 3 groups: 1 to graze a cyathostome-contaminated pasture for 4 mo (exposed ponies), 1 to graze a “clean” pasture not previously grazed by parasitized animals (nonexposed ponies), and 1 group to remain in the barn under helminth-free conditions (parasite-free ponies). After pasture exposure all ponies were housed in stalls in the barn and dewormed with ivermectin (200 μg/kg) and oxibendazole (100 mg/kg), a treatment that eliminated most cyathostomes encysted in the mucosa as well as all luminal parasites, on the basis of necropsies of 5 animals, after 17 days. Remaining ponies were challenged with 100,000 cyathostome-infective third-stage larvae (L3) per os 3 wk after anthelmintic treatment. Necropsies were performed 7 wk after the challenge. Total cyathostome burdens (luminal plus encysted stages) were not significantly different among any of the groups. However, a significantly higher percentage of hypobiotic early L3 (EL3) and a lower percentage of adults were found in exposed ponies. This observation supports the hypothesis that resistance acquired through exposure promotes cyathostome hypobiosis. This increase in EL3 in exposed ponies was associated with a significant increase in weight of cecum and ventral colon biopsies.
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