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Accuracy of Testing

Dr. John Byrd, DVM

Recently one of Horsemen’s Laboratory clients asked about the accuracy of our testing methods. Horsemen’s Laboratory was established in 1992 and since then we have done over 46,000 samples. Over the years we have sent samples to the University Of Illinois School Of Veterinary Medicine Department Of Parasitology and to East Tennessee Clinical Research, Inc., a very competent laboratory that does extensive testing and research in the field of parasitology, owned by Craig R. Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVM. The results found at all three laboratories were very comparable; placing each horse in the same category as far as egg shedding was concerned.

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Why should you do Fecal Egg Counts on your Horse?

Dr. John Byrd, DVM

How do you know my horse has worms? How do you know you got rid of the worms my horse had? These two questions were commonly asked when I dewormed horses as a general equine veterinarian. My standard response was that the drug companies tell us they work.

When the daily dewormers came on the market many of my clients requested that I get these dewormers for their horses. I often told them I thought it was unnecessary because most of the horses were already being dewormed every 2 months. In addition, 90% of the horses I cared for in southern California were kept in clean box stalls 22 hours a day except when they were being ridden or exercised. I did not see how these horses could have many worms, if any at all. Therefore, I decided to seek the answers to these common questions for myself by doing fecal egg counts before I dewormed my horses.

What I found was that less than 1 out of 20 horses had any eggs in the stool sample to indicate they were infected with adult worms. After consulting with several experts in equine parasitology and recognizing that no one was performing routine fecal egg counts for horse owners, I started Horsemen’s Laboratory to fill this void. I felt owners should have the opportunity to know whether or not their horses had worms rather than just treating them blindly.

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The Resistance – Equine Parasites Rise Up

by Doug Thal DVM DABVP

Equine parasites are becoming resistant to our de-worming compounds. This blog post addresses why this is a HUGE CONCERN not only for your horse, but for the entire horse industry.

Recently I had to euthanize a world-class 4-year-old Quarter Horse mare, a real tragedy. She had badly damaged intestines, and after 2 colic operations, we decided to put her down. Her problems were partly brought on by a severe infestation of large roundworms (Ascarids). This type of parasite is common in young horses but VERY rare in adults. My first thought when I saw all the large adult parasites at surgery was “Why isn’t this mare being de-wormed?” When I asked the trainer about her parasite control program though, she said she had been wormed every 5 weeks!

While this mare probably had a very rare “immune tolerance” to these parasites, what was most alarming was that the parasites were able to survive in the face of repeated dousing in de-worming chemicals. These worms were resistant to the de-wormers being used!

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