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BP in Horse Worm Management 2

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Best Practice in Horse Worm Management Evidence Based Worming proudly independent

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Did you know Horse owners throughout the world are making the transition away from routine interval deworming of their horses to deworming only when based on the evidence from faecal egg counts FECs Why In one word Resistance Cyathostomins small strongyles are now the major gastro intestinal parasite of concern in adult horses Years of deworming horses with chemicals every 6 or 8 or 12 weeks has created resistance in these worms a bit like antibiotics resistance in bacteria When resistance is present the period between deworming gets shorter and shorter until you guessed it the drugs will not work at all This means problems for our horses and us and our pockets and our vets When you buy a deworming treatment it will usually be one or a combination of 3 groups of active ingredients chemicals and Cyathostomins are becoming resistant to all of these products What s really worrying is that there are no more chemicals coming onto the market now or in the future This means we must change our current deworming practices and only use dewormers when the evidence supports their use If all horse owners get on board with this the existing chemicals will continue to work for us in the future when we might really need them If we don t get on board we will be joining the international horse community having to obtain a prescription in order to purchase deworming treatments That s the bad news Here s the GREAT news Most healthy adult horses only need deworming once a year This is because they have good immune systems that keep their own intestinal parasitic worm population in check We humans tend to forget that horses and their parasites evolved together in fact they are meant to be together We need only get involved if the parasite numbers get out of whack So why deworm horses once a year To take care of other parasites such as tapeworms and bots

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The future Current scientific thinking is that there is not much to gain from deworming horses that are not showing any clinical signs of worms and that best practice in equine parasite control is now underpinned by evidence Obtaining this evidence involves looking at horse poo down the tube of a microscope and when you do this you will find a new popularity in group gatherings What we are looking for are horses that have lots of worm eggs in their poo you might think that this would be most horses but in fact it is only about 16 20 of horses in a herd When we identify these horses known as high shedders through faecal egg counts FECs we treat them All other horses in the herd remain untreated I know that this might be an uncomfortable concept initially as we have been programmed to treat our horses routinely But believe me you will soon get used to it as you save money on deworming treatments How to get started If you have a small number of horses say less than 10 it s probably easiest to package up a sample one fresh pellet of horse poo from each horse and take them to someone who carries out FECs This could be your veterinary practice the NSW Department of Primary Industries or a private provider such as Evidence Based Worming If you have more than 10 horses for example if you have a horse rescue establishment are a horse breeder agistment property owner manager or just have lots of horses you might wish to consider having the herd benchmarked This involves an annual test of all horses on the property in order to identify and treat the high shedders This is explained further in EBWs booklet Benchmarking the Herd Need more convincing Evidence based worming is now conventional practice in horse establishments throughout Europe In the USA the University of Kentucky the world leaders in equine gastro intestinal parasitology research has a herd of healthy horses that have rarely been treated with dewormers In Australia our stand out home grown example is the University of Adelaide which has adopted evidence based worming for its horse herd for the last 5 years and has documented considerable savings over routine chemical deworming in this time In the private horse owning community more and more agistment and horse breeding properties are now coming on board with best practice strategies for horse worm management There is also evidence from a recent USA study that people are choosing to use less chemicals on their horses even without doing FECs

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Further information NSW DPI Parasitology Testing Evidence Based Worming Parasitology Testing Australia American Association of Equine Practitioners AAEP Parasite Control Guidelines a free downloadable source REMEMBER A good equine parasite control program based on FECs is a key component of good horse husbandry is integral to an optimal pasture management system for horse keeping minimises the risk and transmission of parasitic disease between horses controls parasite egg shedding maintains the effectiveness of deworming drugs retards further development of anthelmintic resistance reduces the amount of environmental chemicals protects our soil biota including dung beetle populations rewards horse owners with healthy horses a healthy environment and savings evidencebasedworming com au PO Box 508 GOOLWA SA 5214 Australia info evidencebasedworming com au M 61 410 527 745 ABN 80881618851