CHANGING MINDS, ONE AT A TIME
By now, virtually every equine veterinarian in this country knows that regularly scheduled, across-theboard deworming is a bad idea. And, I know, many horsepeople do as well. But how many people have acted on this information and changed their approach to parasite control? Not nearly enough.
We recently surveyed managers of large Thoroughbred farms here in Kentucky. We found that, despite knowing of the risks associated with scheduled deworming, only about 25 percent of respondents had adopted the new surveillance-based recommendations. The other 75 percent are still doing it the old way.
This surprised me. I thought we’d be better off by now, and I hope that we might be elsewhere. Farm managers in Kentucky are dealing with a lot of yearlings and young stock who don’t always fit easily into the “test and select” approach to deworming. On some of those farms, scheduled deworming may still be the best choice. But that same study also found that the managers were treating very frequently, even more frequently than we recommend without a targeted approach. In fact, they were using lots of drugs that we know don’t work anymore. The managers don’t appear to be making much of an effort, at all, to change the way they deworm, and a majority declared they wanted some sort of assurance that the new approaches would be successful before they would consider any change.
This study is still our only published evidence of how people are utilizing the information we’ve sent out, and it’s a bit disheartening.
On the positive side, my impressions