Horse Deworming

Internal parasites -- worms -- are silent killers. They can cause extensive internal damage, and you may not even realize your horses are heavily infected. At the very least, parasites can lower resistance, rob the horse of valuable nutrients, and cause gastrointestinal irritation and unthriftiness. At their worst, they can lead to colic, intestinal ruptures, and death.

Using deworming agents on a regular schedule in combination with good management procedures is critical to relieving your horse of most parasites. Since parasites are primarily transferred through manure, good management is key. In terms of management priorities, establishing a parasite control program is probably second only to supplying the horse with clean, plentiful water and high quality feed.

To get rid of parasites before they attack your horse, follow these suggestions from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP):

-Pick up and dispose of manure droppings in the pasture at least twice weekly.

-Rotate pastures by allowing other livestock, such as sheep or cattle, to graze them, thereby interrupting the life cycles of parasites.

-Group horses by age to reduce exposure to certain parasites and maximize the deworming program geared to that group.

-Keep the number of horses per acre to a minimum to prevent overgrazing and reduce the fecal contamination per acre.

-Use a feeder for hay and grain rather than feeding on the ground.

-Remove bot eggs quickly and regularly from the horse's haircoat to prevent ingestion.

-Rotate deworming agents, not just brand names, to prevent chemical resistance.

-Consult your veterinarian to set up an effective and regular deworming schedule.

With the many safe, convenient products available today, establishing an effective deworming program is easy. Discuss a plan with Dr. Atherton and implement it without delay. A good parasite control program will go a long way toward maximizing your horse's appearance, performance and comfort. The net result will be an animal that is as healthy on the inside as it appears on the outside.

Understanding Rotation

Why Deworming Matters
All horses develop parasites in their digestive systems. But, by administering a systematic, seasonal deworming program, these harmful parasites can be controlled. Experts agree that you should deworm horses six times a year, rotating different compounds (such as ivermectin, fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate) based on seasonal parasite prevalence.

Certain compounds combat specific parasites more effectively than others. But, when parasites are repeatedly exposed to the same compounds, they can develop resistances. Only correct rotation discourages resistance build-up and ensures optimum protection of the horse.

Best scientific practice recommends deworming horses every 60-days, rotating among the three main chemical classes of compounds available (ivermectin, fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate) to combat the parasites that are prevalent in that season.

How To Get Rotation Right
Your horse‚Äôs health is important to you and to Dr. Atherton.  We know parasite infection may represent the biggest health risk to your horse, but with the right program, it's easy to control.
            Talk to Dr. Atherton about setting up an easy to use Rotational Deworming Barn Chart. That way you can know exactly what to use and when.

A sample deworming calendar for the CSRA and surrounding South Carolina might look like this:
Rotation 1. "Deep Freeze" = January. Use a Rotation 1 product with Fenbendazole, such as Safe-Guard for general parasite control and removal of all stages of encysted small strongyles.

Rotation 2. "Past Thaw" = March. Use a Rotation 2 product, with ivermectin or moxidectin (with or without praziquantel) for general parasite control, and removal of bots and tapeworms.

Rotation 3. "Grazing Season" = May. Use a Rotation 3 product, with pyrantel pamoate for general parasite control.

Rotation 4. "Grazing Season" = July. Use a Rotation 4 product with Fenbendazole, such as Safe-Guard for general parasite control.

Rotation 5. "Early Fall" = September. Use a Rotation 5 product with Ivermectin or Moxidectin (with or without praziquantel), for general parasite control and removal of bots and tapeworms.

Rotation 6. "First Freeze" = November. Use a Rotation 6 product with pyrantel pamoate for general parasite control.


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