Equine De-worming, Dinner Conversation?

With all of the information available on the internet these days, we can become quite easily misled, or even completely misinformed, regarding just about any topic out there. This includes everyone’s favorite dinner time conversation, equine parasites and the latest equine de-worming recommendations.

The protocol that we recommend at Harrison Equine follows the latest American Association of Equine Practitioner’s Guidelines to Parasite Control. We have been using this schedule for 2 years now, with remarkable results. Research has shown that if we continue to try and combat parasites based on previous protocols, we are in fact, creating parasite resistance in horses. Studies prove that the parasites we typically de-worm against are becoming resistant to the compounds that, in the past, have helped prevent them. What happens when the de-wormers we have no longer work on the parasites? Much like antibiotic resistance, we will have nothing to keep our horses safe from parasites, unless or until, new compounds are found to be effective. This may take years of research, testing, and field trials.

Most horses seemingly, only need to be de-wormed twice a year. There is, of course, what we term as “high shedders.” High shedders may need to be de-wormed more frequently. We make our recommendations based on a series of laboratory fecal sample tests. Fecal samples can be submitted to us here at the clinic. We only need one fresh fecal “ball” per horse, any more than that and flies tend to congregate around our lab. So, please, do not clean out your horses stall. More is NOT better. We run the test here and count how many parasite eggs per gram of feces we see. We base our de-worming recommendations on this count. There are a few parasites that we may or may not see on a fecal sample, and we include these in our recommendation protocols.

The following is a schedule of fecal tests and treatment regimens:

**We do recommend giving every horse a Panacur Power Pack every three to four years, starting at the age of 5 years. You want to do this to help get any encysted Strongyle eggs that may not be seen on a fecal sample. They tend to shed on a cycle, so to better protect your horse, give a five day course, ( a Panacur Power Pack), every 3 or 4 years, at the end of a grazing season.

Hopefully, this information will help you determine what the proper parasite control protocol is for your horse. So tonight at the dinner table, you can strike up a conversation that is truly enlightening , engaging, and educational. For all of the “horsey” people out there, this is no big deal. Your non-horsey friends and family may very well enjoy this as well.

Belinda Zeh, L.V.T.

Harrison Equine

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