Date of Award
Master of Science
Twelve working horses were utilized in a completely randomized design to examine the efficacy of curcumin as an anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial. Horses were randomly assigned to either the control (CON) containing no curcumin or to the curcumin (CUR) treatment which was dosed at 15 g of 500 mg/g of 95% curcumin per day (n = 6/treatment). Fecal samples were collected on day 0 before initiation of treatments and then daily for 30 days. Feces from working horses were evaluated for shedding of Streptococcus bovis/ equinus complex, Clostridium difficile, and Clostridium perfringens. Inflammation was observed through erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) via jugular venipuncture every 3-4 days. Horses were fed treatments at 1100 daily and samples were collected prior to administration of treatments. Dosing curcumin at the recommended rate of 15 g per horse had no effect (P ≥ 0.58) on total fecal egg count, strongyles, or ascarids. There was a day effect (P ≤ 0.05) with parasite shedding mimicking the parasites life cycle. Treatment had no effect on ESR (P ≤ 0.42); however, a day effect (P ≤ 0.001) was observed with the CUR horses with ESR decreasing (P = 0.0006) on d 14 and d 21 compared to d 0. There was no treatment (P = 0.34) or day effect (P = 0.53) on concentration of Clostridium perfringens. Similarly, there was no treatment effect for Clostridium difficile (P = 0.51) or SBEC (P = 0.69). Day had an effect (P = 0.0001) on Clostridium difficile, for both CON and CUR horses with all horses having higher concentrations on d 0 and d 1 compared to all other days. Concentrations of SBEC were affected by day (P = 0.05) with concentrations increasing on different days for both CON and CUR horses. Data would suggest that curcumin has a potential benefit as an anti-inflammatory for working horses starting at d 14 when being dosed at 15 g of 500 mg/g of 95% curcumin. This dosage for 30 days however had no additional benefits as an anti-parasitic and anti-microbial. Curcumin has a potentially negative effect on the GIT by increasing opportunistic bacteria and more research is needed to further evaluate the anti-microbial and anti-parasitic effects of curcumin in horses.
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