Would it be overdosing my horses if I gave them a daily dose of dewormer “Strongid C” every morning with their feed, and still do a rotation de-worming paste every other month? – JN, Indiana
Your New Year’s Resolution should be reading up on current deworming practices as described in the recently published AAEP Parasite Control Guidelines (AAEP stands for American Association of Equine Practitioners). In fact, this would be a great document to sit down and go through with your veterinarian, so that you both are on the same page when it comes to protecting your horses and your facility from parasites.
Yes, I said “your facility,” because one of the best ways to ensure our individual horses don’t have too large a worm burden is to ensure they’re not actively picking up infective eggs and larvae from the environment and starting the worm cycle all over again. Removing manure on a regular basis from stalls, paddocks, and pastures is one way to achieve this, another is to identify the high egg shedders on your farm and deworm them more frequently than the low egg shedders.
Fecal egg counts are the tool needed here, and you can either provide your veterinarian’s staff with a few fecal balls or send manure through the mail to a reputable laboratory (SmartPak sells a kit for just this purpose). Depending on the number of horses you care for, how they’re housed, and other risk factors, the low shedders may only need paste deworming twice a year: at the beginning and end of the grazing season in your area. High shedders should be dewormed at the egg reappearance period for whatever product you used:
- 4 weeks for benzimidazoles like Panacur and Safeguard
- 6 weeks for pyrantel pamoates like Strongid
- 8 weeks for ivermectins like Zimectrin
- 12 weeks for moxidectin like Quest.
Daily dewormer may be a great choice for you, as it prevents large strongyle infection and suppresses small strongyle accumulation (and controls roundworms in young horses), but it should be used strategically in your whole parasite control program with your veterinarian’s advice.