Targeted Deworming

Image of a Horse

The New Way of Thinking: Targeted Deworming

Deworming rotation programs have been the standard practice for many years. However, it is no longer the recommended practice as we are now seeing parasite resistance to many of the dewormers that are used. By inappropriately deworming our horse(s), we are actually contributing to the rapid growth of parasite resistance. At Countryside, we choose to take a more precise approach at deworming by targeting the parasites that are actually present, as well as the life stage the parasites are within the body. Fecal egg counts (FEC) are currently the best method of estimating worm burdens in your horse. FEC are easily performed and provide a tremendous amount of information necessary for parasite control. It is important to remember that dewormer programs need to be designed for each individual horse, not the entire herd or barn.

fly larvae in a horse's stomach

Fighting resistance ​through fecal egg counts:

A fecal egg count allows us to identify each individual horse's worm burden through a fecal sample. It's important to understand that not all horses carry the same amount of parasites. Horses can be high, moderate or low egg shedders. Once a horse is identified, they can be properly treated. This prevents unnecessary deworming, which will help slow down resistance and it can save you money in the long run.

Can you check for resistance?

A fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) can be used to evaluate your horse's resistance. The goal of the test is to see if the wormer being used is actually effective and reducing the parasite load.

Free Fecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) Included With All Equine Annual Wellness Packages!

What else you need to know:

  • Bots and pinworms can't be detected through a FEC. Tapeworms are also difficult to detect.
  • The age of a horse factors into planning an effective deworming program.
  • The goal of deworming is not to totally eliminate the parasite population, but to manage and control the egg shedding of parasites.

We recommend performing a FEC in the spring and fall to effectively monitor your deworming program.