Take Parasite Resistance Seriously
Young horses require special treatment
As a breeder and owner of a new foal, you are looking to the future. You can imagine that foal growing and running in the field at the mare’s side. You look forward to a growing horse with countless hours of training and preparation ahead. You imagine competing and, even more, winning.
But can you imagine sickness or even death from something like parasites? Prior to the development of effective dewormers, horses of all ages often suffered and died from parasite infections. Unfortunately, years of improper deworming practices have resulted in a rise of parasite resistance and reduced efficacy in certain drug classes.
“It is critical that we take parasite resistance seriously and become better managers of our horses,” said Nathan Voris, DVM, Equine Technical Services, Zoetis. “If we don’t take the time to evaluate our deworming practices, then we will likely see health problems that haven’t occurred since our grandfathers’ time.”
Research has shown internal parasites are becoming resistant to current anthelmintics (dewormers). Taking steps to fight resistance and improve parasite management will help maintain peak performance in our horses, Dr. Voris explained.
“Because anthelmintic resistance is an inherited trait in parasites, horse owners must adjust their traditional deworming practices,” Dr. Voris said. “Otherwise, the currently available dewormers will become less effective. Greater parasite burdens will likely lead to serious health problems in the future with fewer effective options to combat parasites.”
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has recently published its parasite control guidelines. Rather than treating a group of horses exactly the same way, guidelines suggest treating animals as individuals. Zoetis has developed an Individualized Deworming (ID) Plan that can eliminate the guesswork, protect young horses from parasites and prepare them for a long, healthy life ahead.
The guidelines specify that horses less than 3 years old require specialized attention when it comes to parasite control. Because they are more susceptible to parasite infection and have an elevated risk for developing disease, properly scheduled deworming treatments during this phase is extremely important.
“The most problematic parasites in foals and young horses are roundworms, which are also called ascarids,” Voris said. “Left untreated, ascarids are a serious health threat that can cause severe, lasting health problems.”
The AAEP parasite control guidelines suggest ways to keep parasites in check and keep foals healthy and growing. Not following the recommended guidelines inevitably puts your foal at risk for stunted growth, colic or many other health problems. As always, discuss your foal’s health management and problems with your veterinarian.
ID Deworming recommendations for foals and weanlings:
· Foals should be dewormed at least four times in the first 12 months of life. Refer to suggested daily and purge deworming schedules below:
· A fecal egg count (FEC) is recommended at weaning to determine whether worm burdens are primarily strongyles or ascarids to help choose the correct treatment option.
· Know your foal’s weight, age and fecal egg count to ensure proper and adequate dosing.
· Deworming with the wrong product or at the wrong time can actually increase the population of anthelmintic-resistant worms in the environment and in your horses.
· Environmental management (i.e., picking up manure from fields) can reduce parasite spread among horses. Watch this video for more information on managing your barn environment to help reduce parasite infection.
Parasite resistance and internal parasites in young horses are important health topics. Zoetis offers a broad portfolio of deworming products to get your foal off to a great start, including: STRONGID C and 2X, STRONGID Paste , ANTHELCIDE EQ Paste, QUEST® Gel and QUEST PLUS Gel. Collaborate with your veterinarian to develop an Individualized Deworming (ID) Plan that caters to the needs of your horse and visit IDMyHorse.com for more information.
Important Safety Information: Do not use QUEST Gel or QUEST PLUS Gel in foals less than 6 months of age or in sick, debilitated and underweight horses. These products should not be used in other animal species, as severe adverse reactions, including fatalities in dogs, may result.
Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit www.zoetisUS.com.
Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health. For more information, visit http://www.zoetis.com/animal-connections-tour/.