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An Alternative Approach To Intestinal Parasite (Worm) Control In Your Horse

How do you know my horse has worms? How are you sure that the deworming medication got rid of the worms my horse had? These were the 2 most often asked questions by owners when I routinely dewormed their horses. The answer to these 2 questions was always the same, the company that manufactures the deworming medication says they do and also assures us that their medication got rid of them. Horsemen's Laboratory was created to give horse owners a much more convenient, accurate and reliable answer to these 2 questions than was previously available.

Have you ever wondered if your horse is really harboring those dreaded enemies the worms? After 18 years of routinely deworming horses and answering the above 2 questions over and over I rediscovered something that has changed the way I look at the routine deworming schedule. As an equine veterinarian, I started checking the stool of all the horses I was treating on the every 2-month routine deworming schedule. This research revealed that less than 1 out of 10 of the horses in my practice was passing worm eggs, the best indication that they were not infected with adult worms.

Therefore, after consulting with veterinarians that specialize in equine intestinal parasitology, I decided to do something revolutionary. Horsemen's Laboratory was started to give horse owners an alternative to the routine deworming schedule. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of deworming programs. Horsemen's Laboratory provides horse owners with postage paid kits to mail their horse's fecal samples to the laboratory. When Horsemen's Laboratory receives these samples, a microscopic examination is performed on each of them and the results are mailed, emailed, or faxed to the owners.

Horsemen's Laboratory has a program where by our clients, whose horses are negative for evidence of worms, are mailed a reminder and kits to recheck their horses every 3 months. When a horse's fecal sample contains worm eggs, the results identifying the type of worm are sent with a recommendation to deworm the horse. A new kit is included with the results so the owner can recheck the horse 3 weeks after deworming to insure that the treatment was effective. Treatment is considered successful when there is a 90% drop in the number of eggs per gram of feces following treatment.

Why is it important to know how many worm eggs are in a horse's stool sample? The number of worm eggs in a horse's stool sample is the only objective measurement we have to evaluate a worm infestation in the live horse. Many will say it is not very accurate and has many shortcomings. However, this is the only test that is used to evaluate deworming medications in the live horse. An owner can also use the information provided by Horsemen's Laboratory to show prospective buyers that the horse's history indicates it has been protected from the effects of worms.

Why would a horse owner want the information Horsemen's Laboratory provides? Many times when a horse is in serious training for a certain event, a trainer may not want to lay the horse up for a routine deworming. Having a stool sample examined, a non-invasive procedure, to determine that the horse does not have adult worms in the digestive tract, can give the trainer and owner peace of mind that the deworming is not needed at that specific time. Having a horse's stool checked before it leaves a trainer's barn to go home or to another trainer's barn can give creditability to the trainer that he took good care of that horse while in his care if the stool was negative or had a low egg count. . Presently, many owners have their horses' dewormed just prior to being sent to a trainer and the trainer often has the horse dewormed within a few days after arriving at their barn. This doubling up of deworming can be detrimental to the horse. Having a horse's stool sample checked when it arrives at a trainer's barn can prevent a needless deworming treatment. Some horses may have a reaction to the medication and can even colic after deworming. Breeding farms can have their foals checked every 3 months for intestinal parasites until they are sold as yearlings. Horsemen's Laboratory maintains a history on each horse. This history can be provided to the owners to present to prospective buyers thereby assuring the buyer that the breeder has protected this yearling against the adverse effects of worms.

Deworming programs and schedules should be based on the presence of adult worms in the intestinal tract, not on some every 2-month cycle. Each situation and environment horses are kept in effects how often they should be dewormed. We have samples that have come to Horsemen's Laboratory that bears out this fact. For example, we have had a number of cases of horses on the daily dewormer regimes that were still passing stool with 300-500 strongyle eggs per gram of feces. For such horses, we can advise the owners as to what change in deworming medication may be best. We also have had samples from horses on our program that continue to have no eggs in their samples even after 3 years without being dewormed.

Horsemen's Laboratory offers the horse owner knowledge of how effective their deworming program is and consultations on how it can be altered accordingly to make it more efficient. Horsemen's Laboratory takes the guesswork out of developing an effective deworming program for each individual horse's situation.

Owners get more information about Horsemen's Laboratory at
Or they may contact Horsemen's Laboratory at 1-800-544-0599 or e-mail


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