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How to Deal with Dewormer Resistance in Horses

horse-dewormingCases of drug resistance in parasites are on the rise in horses, livestock, and other animals.  Deworming is an essential part of good equine care, but how can owners know that the products they pick are providing their horses with the protection they need?

Fecal egg counts are a powerful tool.  Your veterinarian or a veterinary diagnostic laboratory can evaluate the number of eggs produced by common gastrointestinal parasites in a fecal sample before and after deworming with a particular product.  If the numbers decline dramatically, that particular equine dewormer is still effective for your horse.

Deworming isn’t the only weapon in the battle against gastrointestinal parasites.  Horse owners should also:

  • Practice good pasture management. Limit the number of animals per field to prevent overgrazing and the buildup of feces.
  • Routinely drag fields to break up fecal balls and expose parasites to heat, dry air, and sunlight.
  • Remove and compost feces.
  • Use hay and grain feeders to reduce fecal contamination.
  • Keep water supplies clean.
  • Use different types of dewormers (as long as each is effective) at different times of the year to most effectively treat the parasites that are present based on their lifecycles.
  • Do not breed animals that have chronic problems with parasitism.
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