simultaneously maintaining the effectiveness of the anthelmintics (deworming
drugs) currently available for as long as possible.”
TARGETED DEWORMING USING FECAL TESTING
IS TOO CONFUSING AND MAKES EXTRA WORK.
Fecal testing is the cornerstone of modern parasite control. This
allows you to identify individual horses as “low shedders” or “high shedders.”
Once you know this, you can deworm each horse at the appropriate frequency:
low shedders less often, high shedders more often.
“Targeted deworming is actually less work, less expensive and more effective,”
says Gray. “Step one is having a fecal [egg count] performed on your horse. If it
comes back less than about 200 eggs per gram [EPG], then your horse is likely a
low shedder and only needs deworming once or twice a year. If the results show
more than 500 EPG, then your horse is likely a high shedder and needs to be
are considered a primary parasite in
Your deworming plan should be
based on your region, individual
horses, and their potential exposure
to parasites—not on a calendar. There
is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all”
approach to parasite protection.
“Your horse’s parasites are local, so
your deworming program should be
tailored to the horse’s age and possible
exposure to parasites, as well as climate and time of year,” says Kennedy.
For example, in the South, hot
summers greatly limit parasite
transmission, while harsh winters in
the North do the same. That’s why
your deworming program should
start with climate, then look closely
at your horse’s age, environment and
Foals and young horses will need
deworming more frequently than
older horses, simply because they
have not yet developed immunity and
are at higher risk of parasite infection.
“If you’re in a more northern climate, you may be able to refrain from
giving dewormers when parasites
aren’t active (winter, your non-graz-ing season) and vice versa for those in
southern climates,” says Gray.
If you’ve been in the habit of
deworming every couple months, it
may be hard to accept that your horse
may not need it that often.
TOTALLY ERADICATE ALL
The goal is parasite control, not com-
plete eradication. You should deworm
enough to keep horses healthy and to
decrease the risk of recontamination.
“Horses have always had parasites,”
says Cheramie. “The biggest myth is
that they should have none. That’s
not achievable, and by attempting to
do this, we’ve created resistance and
made the deworming drugs we have
less effective. Instead, we want to
maintain the health of horses, while D U S T Y