Worming in the New Millennium
By Carole Herder
Worms, worms, worms. Not a nice topic for discussion but nonetheless much talked about, particularly in the equine world. Do you worm every 6-8 weeks, as recommended by the product manufacturers? Do you worm the ‘standard’ three months, using a rotating list of commercial brand products? Do you not worm at all, pick up poo every day and hope that all is ok??
Most of us know that a deworming routine should be based on a fecal egg count but I guarantee, very few of us follow this practice. The count would allow us to determine whether the horse is carrying a low, moderate or high worm burden and we could then act accordingly. Unfortunately, this is simply not being done in general and it is a much more common practice to worm our horses routinely and frequently, without having the faintest idea of what type of parasite we are targeting or whether the program we adhere to is even being effective. We are also running the high risk of making our horses (and their worms!) immune to market products.
While many of us do not do fecal egg counts, there are those of us who diligently run the numbers by sending away samples of dung and using the results to tweak their deworming program, by either changing the product they use or reducing the use of products overall (this should be our aim!). Then of course there are the scientific types (not me!) who have a DIY system using a microscope, McMaster slides, beakers, a pipette, a flotation solution, and who knows what else!
Well, for everyone interested in starting or continuing fecal egg counts as part of your deworming program, here is something that may help you in the future: an American firm has developed a smartphone app capable of providing a fecal egg count for horses. There is still a certain amount of ‘handling’ to be done but it is a quick, simple and easy to use system which requires no manual counting. “The Parasight System provides quantitative results in less than five minutes and emails imaged test results with egg count / type and treatment recommendation….” – wow! Doesn’t that sound fun?
The new system is due to be released next January and I think it should definitely be considered as part of your horse equipment.
You can find out more by going to the following link: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2015/03/31/parasite-egg-counts-app/#axzz3VzNGqtSL.
And of course, always remember that healthy horses move. A lot. And horses move a lot more comfortably with Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots.