Parasite Control for Working Horses
Call me a passionate horse lover, but one thing I have found over time is that horses thrive when they have a job to do. It is easy to see the change in them when they get focused on doing work; they simply come alive. Horses are still being used for a multitude of work, whether farming, mounted patrols, draft horses, herding cattle, or dude ranch riding.
Common for all of them are that the owners/riders are depending on the horses being calm, willing and performing well. Controlling internal parasites, or worms, is an extremely important component of horse health care. Internal parasites are silent thieves and killers. The damage they cause often goes unnoticed until problems are severe.
Fecal egg count testing helps your horse perform better
Often when I asked owners if they are using the new parasite control program the answer is why change if what I am doing is working. My next question always is are you doing periodic fecal egg counts on your horses. Most often the answer is no why would I ? The answer to that question is because that is the only way you can be sure your horse's parasite control program is working. The truth is often the old protocol for parasite control is not working plus it is the major cause of resistance in equine parasites today.
The old protocol actual works as a selective breeding program for resistant parasites. By killing all the sensitive parasites and leaving the few resistant parasites so they can mate and produce more resistant parasites is the definition of a selective breeding program. Once the population of resistant parasites reach a majority of the population that class of deworming medication is no longer effective in controlling this population of parasites.
Why do fecal egg counts on your horses before deworming?
Parasite resistance has been developing for some time due to what I call selective breeding of the parasites. What this means is that each time we deworm a horse or a group of horses with a certain medication we are killing off the sensitive parasites and allow those few that are resistant to continue to multiply. Therefore, each time we use that medication the resistant parasites compose a larger percentage of the population until eventually they become the majority of the population and that particular deworming medication is no longer effective at controlling that parasite.
Since, there are no new deworming medications being developed it is likely that before long we will be very limited in what deworming medications are available that are effective.
There are 3 classes of drugs used to deworm horses at this time and there is major resistance to 2 classes in small strongyles. There is also evidence that some roundworms and pinworm are resistant to the third class, therefore, if your horse is harboring small strongyles and one of the others, an owner must use a combination of dewormer to control their horses parasites.
Fecal egg counts are the most important tool to slow the development of resistance in horse parasites. Doing fecal egg counts and using the knowledge that the result give, owners can determine when and which horses need to be dewormed this will greatly reduce the selective breeding of parasites for resistance
By using Horsemen's Laboratory's Equine Fecal Egg Count Testing Kit you will be able to determine the types of parasites (if any) have infected your horses. We will also provide a suggested treatment for those specific parasites, enabling you to enhance the health and performance of your horses.