Resistance to levamisole and cross-resistance between pyrantel and levamisole in Oesophagostomum quadrispinulatum and Oesophagostomum dentatum of pigs

Vet Parasitol. 1990 Aug;37(1):21-30. doi: 10.1016/0304-4017(90)90022-4.


Two strains of Oesophagostomum spp., consisting of both O. quadrispinulatum and O. dentatum, were subjected to a controlled in vivo assay for resistance to levamisole and pyrantel by comparison with susceptible isolates. One strain (LEM) was recently isolated from a commercial herd, where sows showed high numbers of strongyle eggs in faeces within 2 weeks of farrowing and following treatment with levamisole at the manufacturer's recommended dose rate 1 week before farrowing. Levamisole had been used as the sole anthelmintic for treatment for at least 7 years on this farm. Treatment with pyrantel in this herd also indicated cross-resistance to this drug. A mixed population of O. quadrispinulatum and O. dentatum of this strain was subjected to controlled in vivo assays. Faecal egg count reduction (FECR) was found to be -573.3% (P greater than 0.05) and worm count reductions (WCR) of O. quadrispinulatum and O. dentatum were estimated as 44.5% (P greater than 0.05) and 96.4% (P less than 0.001), respectively. Treatment with pyrantel showed that cross-resistance existed to this drug, with FECR of 10.4% (P greater than 0.05) and WCR of 64.5% (P greater than 0.05) and 90.7% (P less than 0.05) for O. quadrispinulatum and O. dentatum, respectively. Another strain (VJ) was isolated from another commercial pig herd, which was dosed with pyrantel citrate four times a year for at least 8 years. This strain showed resistance to pyrantel, with FECR of 43.8% (P greater than 0.05) and WCR of 65.9% (P greater than 0.05) and 49.4% (P greater than 0.05) for O. quadrispinulatum and O. dentatum, respectively. However, both species were susceptible to levamisole. Our results suggested that selection with levamisole gave rise to levamisole resistance and automatically conferred resistance to pyrantel, whereas selection with pyrantel only resulted in resistance to this drug alone. These findings are discussed in relation to the location of the two species of Oesophagostomum in the large intestine of pigs and the mode of action of this class of anthelmintics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Resistance
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Levamisole / pharmacology*
  • Oesophagostomum / drug effects*
  • Oesophagostomum / isolation & purification
  • Pyrantel / pharmacology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Swine / parasitology*


  • Levamisole
  • Pyrantel