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Part II: Parasites are STILL a Problem For Me

The following is a follow up to my original article "Parasites are STILL a Problem" posted on February 1st.

As I mentioned in Part One, I committed myself to making internal parasite mitigation a top priority in my horses' health (and client horses' health) for 2021, and boy oh boy...oh I glad that I did! The results of the fecal egg count test from Horsemen's Laboratory showed that my problem was greater than I imagined. Despite daily paddock picking, manure composting, strict pasture management, and digestive support, I still had an infestation of strongyles running a muck through my little herd. In retrospect, I assume that parasites could be a major contributor not only to the 2 year old's poor coat and insatiable appetite, but possibly also a contributor to my performance mare's digestive discomfort and inflammation.

Horsemen's Laboratory recommends deworming horses with a parasite load over 200 eggs per gram- three of my four horses qualified with the 2 year old, Coulee, having the largest contamination at 1500 eggs per gram!!! I had known from multiple other fecal egg counts that Stella, my mature performance horse, was a typically high shedder so it was not surprising that her load was quite high as well. The only horse below 200 eggs per gram was Libby who has the shiniest coat and the highest body condition score in the herd.

To start tackling this parasite problem, I purchased a Zoetis product called QuestPlus for $15.99 per syringe. I chose this particular product because I knew that the drugs, moxidectin and praziquantel, were effective in the control of strongyles including encysted larvae. *Please contact your veterinarian when choosing the right deworming drug for the job!

Results of February 2021 Fecal Egg Count

After administering the QuestPlus to the three horses over 200 egg/gram, I then reached out to both my equine veterinarian as well as the Zoetis company for the next step. They both recommended that I wait a minimum of 2 weeks and up to 8 weeks to redo the fecal egg count before deworming again. I have to admit that I had the "knee-jerk" reaction to deworm Stella and Coulee again after two weeks, but as the experts so nicely reminded me, it's better to "stop guessing & start gloating" by diagnosing first. Be patient Natalie, take your own advice, and wait for more information!!!

Here are a few excellent resources that I found helpful to plan my own parasite attack!

  • Zeotis Equine website with resources if you'd like to learn more CLICK HERE.

  • AAEP Internal Parasite Control Guidelines CLICK HERE

  • Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital Printable Resource CLICK HERE

My very own parasite problem has inspired a new add-on-service for private nutrition consult clients! On Course Equine Nutrition now believes so strongly in fecal egg counting as a critical step towards equine nutritional health, that I've pre-purchased parasite testing kits for clients! When you sign up for a 3 Month Guided Nutrition Practice or Annual On-Call Nutritionists Farm Plan, you can choose to receive a care package full of all the tools to help you "Stop Guessing & Start Gloating"! Included in the On Course Equine Nutrition "Stop Guessing & Start Gloating" Care Package is a prepaid fecal egg count test kit, forage testing packet, digital scale, weight tape and OCEN Swag!!!

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