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Parasite management today

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Question: Is it necessary to get rid of all the parasites on my farm?

Answer: As illogical as it may sound, no. While old-school thinking and the resulting treatment plans called for the complete elimination of the parasite population, research has resulted in a new way of thinking. You should actually roll out the welcome mat to the right population of parasites that are susceptible to dewormers. It's called "refugia." When the susceptible worms interbreed with resistant parasites, you help reduce the development of resistance.

While trying to achieve a zero egg count and having virtually no parasites in your horse or on your farm might seem like both an achievable and desirable goal, it can be detrimental to horses and nearly impossible to attain. Because only about 20 to 30 percent of the horses in a herd shed about 80 percent of the farm's worm eggs, identifying those horses and treating them accordingly is far more efficient. With this new strategy, the low shedders (likely about 60 to 80 percent of the horses) may only need a deworming treatment in spring and fall.

However, if you're implementing this type of selective deworming plan, it's more important than ever that you first work with your veterinarian to make sure that you're using products that are still effective on your farm. If the parasites on your farm are resistant to the product that you've used, this approach will still leave you with nothing but more resistant parasites on your property.

The bottom line is that modern deworming goals should be to manage worm burdens to keep them below detrimental levels by using the right product based on the individual horse's shedding levels.

More information can be found at www.zimecterin.com.

Date: 11/19/2012



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