First UK Equine Research Crowdfunding Project Raises $6,000

The University of Kentucky's (UK) first research crowdfunding project raised more than $6,000 for parasitology research with more than 50 individual donors from the United States, Canada, Australia, and several European countries.

Martin Nielsen, PhD, DVM, PhD, Dipl. EVPC, ACVM, an equine parasitologist, veterinarian, and assistant professor at the UK Gluck Equine Research Center, launched the crowdfunding project titled, “Let the germs get the worms: Testing a novel probiotic compound for treatment of equine parasites,” in January. Nielsen’s crowdfunding project, which ended on March 10, is possibly the first such effort in the veterinary science field.

“We are highly grateful for the tremendous support we received. Reaching the first milestone will enable us to test our bacterial product against equine ascarid roundworms under laboratory conditions,” Nielsen said. “Ascarids are a major problem in foals, as they have become highly drug-resistant and are the cause of severe small intestinal impactions.”

Crowdfunding is a relatively new term that describes reaching out to the general public, usually through the Internet, to reach a fundraising goal. Success in reaching the goal often depends on many individuals making smaller donations through a website. The crowdfunding campaign was hosted at The site is still available and will continue to allow guests to sign up for more information, access videos and educational information, and to ask Nielsen exclusive questions about parasite control for their horses. Featured videos on the site have been viewed more than 1,500 times since it launched.

Nielsen’s research team is devoted to providing solutions for worm control in horses. Equine parasites, such as small strongyles and large roundworms, 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 parasites. These can cause disease signs 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 funds 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.”

Jenny Evans, MFA, is the marketing and promotion specialist senior at the Gluck Equine Research Center.

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