The increasing levels of anthelmintic resistance together with the restrictions in the use of drugs in food producing animals have enforced the search for sustainable alternative approaches for parasite control. The current study aimed to investigate the safety and the efficacy of a commercially available phytotherapic formulation against gastrointestinal strongyles in donkeys. Twenty-two Ragusana jennies (2.6 ± 0.5 years old) were assigned to two equal groups. One group was treated with two doses of a phytotherapic supplement Paraxitebio® containing Cardus mariano, Eucalyptus globulus, Gentiana lutea, Urtica urens, and Mallotus philippinensis, 14 days apart (Group A). One group was used as negative control (Group B). Individual fecal samples were collected at the beginning of the study (T−1), and after 7, 14, and 28 days (T7, T14, T28). Blood samples were collected on T−1 and T28 in order to assess changes in donkeys' hematological profile. After the initial rise in EPG values observed on T7, Group A showed a significant EPG decrease with lower eggs per gram (EPG) count compared to Group B on T28 and an overall fecal egg count reduction of 56.9% on the same time-point. Hematological parameters were within the normal physiological ranges for enrolled donkeys. However, significant differences in the values of RBCs, Hb, MCHC, MCV, WBCs, eosinophils, and basophils were recorded between groups after phytotherapic treatments, with Group A showing a general improvement in the hemogram picture. The phytotherapic supplement used in the current study was helpful in controlling intestinal parasites allowing a significant reduction in the fecal egg count 28 days after treatment. Further studies are needed to better explore the specific mode of action of the plant-derived formulation herein tested as well as to encourage their use as tool for the control of equine strongylosis under multimodal integrated approach in dairy donkey farms.
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