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News 958 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Crowdfunding project to test probiotic

Martin Nielsen, equine parasitologist and veterinarian has launched a research crowdfunding project. He wants to use the money to test a probiotic supplement for horses suffering from a worm infection.

Nielsen is assistant professor at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center and named its crowdfunding campaign "Let the germs get the worms: Testing a novel probiotic compound for treatment of equine parasites". It is hosted at the website http://equineparasitology.ca.uky.edu/and has a goal of raising $30,000 before March 10.

Nielsen's research team is devoted to providing solutions for worm control in horses. Horse parasites, such as small strongyles and large roundworm, are developing increased levels of resistance to all available dewormers. No new drugs are being developed for use in horses, so the equine industry needs new reliable treatment alternatives. Horses on pasture are constantly exposed to different parasite types. These can cause disease symptoms such as colic, diarrhea and weight loss. Foals are particularly vulnerable to parasite infection and need special attention in parasite control programs.

"It is our experience that horse owners are very interested in updated information about parasite control and have great concerns about drug resistance," Nielsen said. "We therefore felt that crowdfunding would be very appropriate for raising funding for research in this area. The crowdfunding platform allows direct interaction with the end users of our research, which is very valuable to us. A good question can inspire us to set up the next research project." "We will test for the presence of receptors for the bacterial protein, and test the effect against different horse parasites under laboratory conditions," Nielsen said. "We expect to use the results to apply for a larger grant to finally allow us to test the probiotic in horses."

Guests can sign up for more information on the project and make online donations, where they can also access videos and educational information. As a special feature, the site is set up with an exclusive questions forum where visitors can ask Nielsen about parasite control.

[Source: University of Kentucky]

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