Right Facts About Equine Deworming, Part Two
Merial's here to test our "know-how" and inform us of the latest strategies for any horse deworming schedule. Do you know the answers to these equine deworming questions?
FACT? As it turns out, leaving a residual worm population on a farm not only does no harm, it's actually necessary for a healthy equine deworming program.
Yes. It's called "refugia." As illogical as it may sound, you should welcome a population of parasites on the farm that are susceptible to horse deworming products. By leaving that refuge population of non-resistant (susceptible) worms to interbreed with resistant parasites, you help reduce the development of resistance.
Trying to achieve a zero egg count and virtually no parasites on pasture can be both detrimental to horses and impossible to attain for any equine deworming program. "In fact, it is a better idea to identify the horses that need more parasite control and those that need less, and then treat them accordingly," says Dr. Cheramie. Using this new strategy, your horse deworming frequency will likely markedly decline. In fact, most of your horses (likely about 60 to 80 percent) may only need a horse deworming treatment in spring and in fall, which means it's vital that the products you are using on your farm work.
To learn more about deworming, download our FREE guide—Deworming Your Horse: How to find the best deworming schedule for you and your horse.
FACT? Only about 20 to 30 percent of the horses in a herd shed about 80 percent of the farm's worm eggs.
It's true. Most worm contamination on a farm comes from a small subset of high shedders. By working with your veterinarian to identify these high shedders and then target your horse deworming specifically to them using effective products, you can obtain optimum worm control on your farm and may reduce the risk of developing worm populations that are resistant to horse dewormer rotation.
FACT? Parasite management should be a farm concern, not just an individual horse concern.
That's right. In addition to strategic horse deworming, including a regular horse deworming schedule, all the old-fashioned staples of good pasture management--manure composting, pasture rotation, mowing and dragging--are also an integral part of farm parasite population management in the post-rotation era, experts say.
Dragging or other methods of breaking up manure must be done with care, though, since this can actually spread worms out of manure piles over larger parts of the pasture and increase transmission despite the best horse deworming schedule. In areas with hot, dry summers, the heat and lack of moisture will greatly reduce pasture parasite levels. Parasites can survive in cold temperatures, with mild, moist conditions providing an ideal environment for transmission.
No equine deworming classes are immune to the eventual development of resistance. This is why, experts say, it is so important for horse owners to work with their veterinarian and take action today.