Selective Deworming Program: An Improved Method to Deworm Your Horse
Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital is proud to offer our Strategic Deworming Program. We have found that most owners are deworming their horses far too frequently, not using the correct amount of dewormer, or even the appropriate deworming product. Our strategic deworming program allows us to determine the needs of each individual horse. Based on our findings we hope to not only save you money on dewormers, but also help your horse with parasite control and reach optimal health.
When owners and veterinarians think about deworming their horses, they frequently go to the old standard of interval deworming. This system of deworming has been around for years and most owners have not changed the practice. The program involved a rotation of dewormers administered on a set time interval. This worked well back when we first started using the program and large strongyles were prevalent. In today's practice this program has started to be scrutinized as we are seeing less large strongyles, more small strongyles, and more selection for resistance. Small strongyles account for nearly 100% of the strongyle egg output from grazing horses and have a completely different life cycle than large strongyles. It has been said that 20% of the horses account for 80% of the eggs shed onto pastures. The other 80% of horses appear to have immunity and only shed a few parasite eggs. The old interval resulted in minimally parasitized horses receiving multiple dewormers, therefore, increasing selective pressure for the development of resistant parasites.
One of the most important aspects of parasite management is making sure the drug administered is effective in your herd. At Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital we do quantitative fecal egg counts (FEC) to help you dictate your deworming schedule for all horses over 3 years of age. This involves collecting feces from the horses in your herd 8 weeks (12 weeks if dewormed with moxidectin) after the last dewormer. Once the proper dose of dewormer has been administered, we wait 10-14 days and collect feces from the same horses and perform another FEC. We want to see a reduction in FEC by about 90% to determine effectiveness. Fecal egg counts to monitor resistance are recommended before the administration of each new type of dewormer and 2 weeks after treatment during the first year. After the first year on the program, egg counts will be performed twice a year to monitor for parasite control. The sampling of individual horses in the herd can help us determine the spectrum of effective dewormers, the optimal timing of treatments, and the required expenses and effort needed for each individual horse in the herd.
By signing up for the program and performing the fecal egg counts you will receive an individualized report for your horse. Horses will be placed into deworming categories based on the results of the FEC as well as age.
One last thought about our Strategic Deworming Program. Not every horse is created equal. Just because one dewormer works well on the majority of horses it may suboptimal for a member of your herd. By utilizing our Strategic Deworming Program, you can determine which horses in your herd can handle parasites on their own and which horses need the extra special attention. To start the program all you have to do is give us a fresh sample of manure from your horse and we will do the rest.
To view Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital's individualized Strategic Deworming Program click here>