Historically intestinal parasites have wreaked havoc on our nation’s horses. Before ivermectin and easy-to-use syringe dewormers were widely available, it was relatively common to lose your horse to colic caused by worms. Then things got better; ivermectin was thought to be the cure for worms. The method of using a paste dewormer like ivermectin every six to eight weeks (and maybe rotating through the various products available) seemed to work. We weren’t losing our horses to parasite-related illnesses. However expert parasitologists have recently seen resistance to the dewormers available for our use. They have told the equine industry that if we don’t change our methods for controlling the parasites, our horses are going to be overburdened with parasites that won’t respond to the dewormers. So, we are now targeting those horses that have high fecal egg counts and looking for other ways to decrease the parasite population on our client’s properties.
Strategic deworming is relatively simple if you understand some basic concepts. First, you only deworm your horse when it is necessary. You use fecal egg counts once or twice a year to determine when your horse must be dewormed. You do not need to use any dewormer in the winter in ECO’s practice area; the worms are not active and won’t respond to the dewormer. Keeping your fields, paddocks, and stalls clean is also important. The parasites will not migrate far from the manure pile. If you clean your property frequently and remove the manure, you will effectively also remove the majority of parasites that your horse is susceptible to. For more information, please review the this Strategic Deworming document and call us to discuss any questions you may have.