Equine Parasite Management

Do you take medication “just in case” you might have something? Do you take Ibuprofen every hour just to “prevent” headaches?Well of course not. Then why do some deworm their horses every three months not knowing if the horse actually has a parasite issue? Additionally, all medications can have undesirable side effects and, if we keep using a medication over and over, immunities may build to that medication (sound familiar)?

Yes, managing equine parasites is an ongoing concern and must be managed. However, using an anti-parasite product can upset a horse’s digestive system. They tend to strip away needed things like probiotics in my horses therefore I take this maintenance seriously and not just blindly administer “every three months” like the manufactures want you to do.

What I do is collect a stool sample (I use a marked plastic “baggie”) about every three months for each horse. I take this fresh sample to a local lab that can analyze the sample. They can then determine if there are parasites present (or not).. If the sample tests positive, they can then advise me specifically what type of parasite. I can then administer the appropriate compound. If not, I do nothing!

There are some parasites that my local lab states they cannot detect with their testing. If after twelve months, a given horse has been negative all year, I will then still go ahead and administer a de-wormer just as a precaution to catch ay parasites that may have been missed.

The cost of doing this in this way can vary, but for me, it seems to average out about the same or less per year than if I just blindly dosed my horses every three months. The advantages are, I worry less about building immunities and upsetting my horse’s digestive system.

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*** As horse owners, we have the final responsibility for managing our horse’s health etc. Real Time Horsemanship and Bolo Hunt are not veterinarians and are not responsible for the activities of its audience. Articles published by Real Time Horsemanship and/or Bolo Hunt are intended to inform the reader of alternatives. Real Time Horsemanship always suggests you consult your equine veterinarian regarding any health related issues.