Gastrointestinal parasites are commonly diagnosed in captive tortoises. In response, fenbendazole has traditionally been used as an anthelmintic, either in single or repeated doses. However, fenbendazole requires oral administration and the process can be very challenging in some individuals. A topical preparation containing emodepside and praziquantel (Profender®, Bayer, Leverkusen, Germany) is promoted as effective against a broad range of nematodes, trematodes, and cestodes. Although this product is currently only licensed for administration to cats, previous studies have shown positive results with tortoises. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of Profender against oxyurid and ascarid parasites in captive tortoises. This was achieved by quantifying nematode eggs per gram (EPG) in feces using a modified McMaster technique before (Day 0) and after (Days 14 and 33) topical application of Profender at a dose rate of 21.5 mg emodepside and 85.5 mg praziquantel per kilogram. Twenty-nine tortoises, representing four different species, were enrolled in this study of which 14 (48%; including Testudo hermanni and Testudo graeca) were positive for intestinal nematodes. Following treatment, the oxyurid EPG was slightly increased on Day 14 but declined significantly by Day 33 (59.7% reduction; P = 0.01), indicating a slow onset of effect and moderate efficacy 33 days posttreatment; however, no conclusions regarding efficacy against ascarids can be drawn from this study. Topical application of emodepside and praziquantel was well tolerated in our tortoise population and, therefore, could be considered as a useful alternative anthelmintic treatment protocol for captive tortoises.
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