Use a tar­geted de­worm­ing strat­egy.

To­day’s de­worm­ing strate­gies tar­get horses’ spe­cific par­a­site loads while min­i­miz­ing the de­vel­op­ment of de­wormer re­sis­tance.

Horse & Rider - - Contents -

How im­por­tant is con­trol­ling in­ter­nal par­a­sites? The Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Equine Prac­ti­tion­ers says it’s prob­a­bly sec­ond in im­por­tance only to pro­vid­ing your horse with clean, plen­ti­ful wa­ter and high-qual­ity feed. Worms can rob your horse of valu­able nu­tri­ents, dam­age his in­ter­nal or­gans, even cause colic and death. That’s why pay­ing close at­ten­tion to your de­worm­ing pro­gram is crit­i­cal.

De­worm­ing That Works

The cur­rent best ad­vice is to de­worm based on re­sults of fe­cal egg counts (see below) rather than on an ev­ery-other-month ro­ta­tion. This helps you avoid overus­ing spe­cific de­worm­ers, which in turn staves off de­vel­op­ment of the par­a­site re­sis­tance we’ve seen in re­cent years.

Work with your reg­u­lar vet­eri­nar­ian to de­vise a de­worm­ing pro­gram for your horses. He or she can as­sess fe­cal egg counts to help you tell which de­worm­ers will be most ef­fec­tive at your prop­erty, how of­ten de­worm­ing is needed, and how to tar­get pro­grams for spe­cific horses.

What Else You Can Do

Keep­ing your horses safe from par­a­sites in­volves more than just de­worm­ing plans, how­ever. It also helps if you: • Avoid over­graz­ing your pas­tures (this cuts down on the in­ges­tion of par­a­site eggs). • Pick up and dis­pose of ma­nure reg­u­larly (and com­post it be­fore spread­ing on pas­tures be­ing grazed). • Mow and har­row pas­tures to break up ma­nure piles, ex­pos­ing and dry­ing out par­a­site lar­vae. • If fea­si­ble, ro­tate your pas­tures by al­low­ing sheep or cat­tle to graze them (this in­ter­rupts the life cy­cles of equine par­a­sites). • Avoid feed­ing your horses hay or grain di­rectly on the ground. • Re­move bot-fly eggs reg­u­larly from your horses’ hair­coats, es­pe­cially around the legs, chest, and belly.

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