The first question on everyone’s mind about all the new daily dewormers is whether or not the copycat products provide the same level of parasite control as original Strongid C. That’s easy: Yes.
It’s the same deworming chemical, pyrantel tartrate, and controlled studies comparing generics to Strongid C showed equal results. So, the difference is basically price.
Comparing the largest available containers for each product, our chart prices ranged from a low of 34?? per day ($10.20 per month) with purchase of 25 pounds of Continuex to a high of 46?? per day ($13.80 per month) for Strongid C. The price difference is $3.60 per month or $43.20 per year.
Nu-Image Guardian from Select The Best is more expensive at 59?? per day ($17.70 per month), but it contains a coat conditioner. If you need the conditioner, this may be a good deal. Otherwise you’re paying an extra $7.50 per month for your daily dewormer.
Both Pfizer and Farnam offer users enrollment in a colic-insurance program. To be eligible, horses must receive the daily dewormer year round, as well as twice yearly doses of ivermectin. (Pyrantel tartrate attacks large and small strongyles, roundworms and pinworms. It is not as broad-based as ivermectin and does not target bots.)
Eligible horses must also receive preventative care, including nutritional counseling, a yearly physical exam, appropriate immunizations (as determined by the treating vet) and yearly dental exams/treatments.
These requirements must be documented, administered and/or purchased through a licensed, program-enrolled veterinarian for the Pfizer plan. Farnam doesn’t require you to buy your dewormer from the veterinarian, however.
Both programs will pay up to $5,000 to include the surgeon’s fee and hospital expenses for up to a three-day stay in the case of colic that requires surgery.
There are three disqualifications for the insurance plans:
1. Horses that have had previous colic surgery.
2. Horse that colicked in previous 12 months or have a chronic colic history.
3. Horses under five months old, not fully weaned, or over 20.
It’s no secret that regularly dewormed, healthy and properly fed horses are at lower risk for colic, or, conversely, that horses with a history of colic are at higher risk. These facts are what make it economically feasible for these companies to offer a $5,000 colic insurance for free.
Still, colic can be unpredictable, and this is a pretty good deal. Even if you consider the price differential between purge paste dewormers every 60 days vs. daily dewormer (compare about $60/year for $10 Equimectrin paste every two months vs. about $124 for Continuex purchasing large tubs at current pricing, with the twice yearly ivermectin free), it’s a good investment.
Note: If you are considering reducing vaccinations your horse receives, or testing antibody titers to determine need before revaccination, check with your veterinarian and the company’s program director to be sure your horse still qualifies.
Swine Dewormer Pellets
Some readers have asked about an economic advantage to swine dewormer pellets, which contain the same active ingredient as the equine ones. The brand name for these pellets is Banminth, but there are also several generics.
The interest in swine pellets made more sense several years ago, when Strongid C had a corner on the equine market. However, now the market is competitive enough to largely obliterate any price differential.
Some people question the wisdom of adding daily doses of pyrantel tartrate via the horse’s manure to the environment. Limited studies have shown that treated manure used in compost heaps may interfere with composting reaching temperatures sufficiently high to kill pathogenic bacteria. However, pyrantel tartrate breaks down readily on exposure to sunlight when it’s spread.
Foals may not fare as well on daily dewormers as mature horses. This difference is at least partially because pyrantel tartrate is not effective against the parasite strongyloides westeri, which the foal gets first through his mother’s milk.
There is also evidence that daily dewormers are not fully effective in young horses, even against the parasites they are designed to target. If your young stock show signs of parasitism, more frequent supplemental purge wormings and better management of premises are indicated.
Check prices when you shop. You can usually interchange these products without upsetting your horse, however, you void any colic-insurance programs by doing so.
Given the prices in our chart, Farnam’s Continuex is our pick. We like the wider choice of suppliers, plus we appreciate them sweetening the deal with a free tube of Equimectrin with each 25-pound purchase and eligibility in their colic insurance program.