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More on deworming...
More on deworming...

DEWORMING OUR HORSES.

This week we will discuss the important topic of parasite control.  While most of us are aware of the need for deworming and external parasite control, a little review may be in order.   Parasites cause over 90% of the colic cases seen in horses. The primary reason for unthriftiness in foals is internal parasites.  Proper deworming will lead to greatly improved digestion and reduced amounts of grain necessary to maintain optimal body condition.  In worst case, situations the worms will cause diarrhea, anemia, and death.

We have briefly summarized the bad effects of the internal parasites.  The external parasites can duplicate the unthriftiness, anemia, and death.  Rarely are they the cause of such conditions, because being on the outside of the horse they are more obvious.  We become much more excited about a horse covered with ticks, or when we feel lice crawling up our arm after leaning on the infected horse.  For each of the external parasites we see, there can be a million worms on the inside.

There is no shortage of products for controlling the worms.  The reason there are still parasitized horses is because the right products were not administered in a timely manner.  We will first discuss the products, then the schedule for administration.  

Letís  first discuss the products in the order of their effectiveness (which in many cases has to do with how they are administered):
The  Strongid C product is fed in the feed each day.  Because this dewormer is present in the bowel each day and on a continuous basis, it eliminates the worms as they complete their life cycles and reenter the gut.  Resistance does not build up within the worm population because they are killed as soon as they enter the bowel and before they can reproduce.  This is an excellent product for the foals, who are most susceptible among the horse population.  It also produces fantastic results in the older horse whose history is not known.  This horse may not have enjoyed frequent deworming in a heavily parasited environment, and may be carrying large numbers of worms.  With a single worming given every quarter, for example, the adult parasites within the bowel are killed, and maybe the larva entering the bowel for the next day or two.  After that, the larva enter and grow to start reproducing without delay until the next quarterly deworming.  The Strongid C dewormer will reduce the wormsí numbers very rapidly because it is present all the time.  Before starting the horse on this product, they should be dewormed with a broad spectrum product to eliminate the adult worms.
A product very beneficial in eliminating the all-important worm larva is Fenbendazole.  Often marketed under the name "Panacur," but available under other names, this product used daily for five days will greatly reduce the larva population within the horse.  A single dose will kill the adults.  Monthly treatments with this product will closely duplicate Strongid C in eliminating the worms.
The remainder of the products can be divided into two classes: those with the drug  ivermectin and those without.  The ivermectin products are sold under the names "Equimectrin, Zimecterin," and a multitude of others.   They are effective against many of the worms, including the bots.  They have some effective activity against external parasites as well.

The non-ivermectin products include "Anthelcide," "Strongid," and "Quest."  These are all very effective against the worms.  Along with the "Panacur" and "Strongid C," none of these are effective against the bots.  Next week we will go into the scheduling of the use of these products.

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