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Review: Handbook of Equine Parasite Control

There is a bit of a slow revolution happening in regards to worming horses but one that should change things for the better ... provided horse owners can get their head around the information!

For years and years the two common principles of worming have been worm every 6-8 weeks and rotate your wormers annually. Good advice right? Not necessarily according to recent research conducted by Craig R. Reinemeyer, PhD, of East Tennessee Clinical Research, in Rockville, Tenn., and Martin K. Nielsen, DVM, PhD, EVPC, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, USA. The central core of Reinmeyer and Nielsen’s research is that if we don’t know what type of worms we are worming for, then we may either be just wasting our time at best or, at worst, placing the health of our horses at even greater risk. The pair has written a book – the Handbook of Equine Parasite Control – which they say “compiles all the available scientific material and translates it into practical updated information about controlling parasites in horses.” It’s a great resource and much needed but it’s far from practical unless you have a university vet degree! There are lots of wordy sentences and latin names and veterinary descriptions. Still, it is worth reading, even for the average horse owner, because it does give an excellent understanding of horse parasites and their life cycles – vital knowledge if you are going to seriously attempt to reduce their populations – and effects – on your farm. The book is good for horse health practitioners – vets, vet nurses and so on – who are used to the technical jargon and will get a good understanding of the information quickly. Also recommended for students studying in the horse health or horse management fields. Just one chapter in the book is devoted to boiling it down for the rest of us. Chapter 11. Synopsis of Evidence Based Parasite control. In short Reinmeyer and Nielsen advocate using evidence of parasite burdens to determine worming; ie. What types of worms are infecting your farm and horses? And what type of wormers (anthelmintics) are effective against those worms? It’s information worth knowing for a number of reasons. Firstly, worming without knowing what type of worms your horse carries is dangerous because you could be going along happily thinking your horse is parasite free when in fact he carries a worm burden you didn’t know about that are resistant to the wormer you have been using. Secondly, you could be unknowingly increasing the resistance to certain wormers of the population of worms that live on your property thus making what you are doing ineffective. Thirdly, you could be spending way more money on worming your horses than you need to. In many cases Reinmeyer and Nielsen say that worming can be done as little as once or twice a year, not the 6-8 week cycle we have been using up until now. If you are using a $20 wormer that’s a difference of about $80 per horse per year. I don’t know many horse people who wouldn’t mind that extra cash. Anyway, back to the book. It is fabulous for vets, vet nursing staff, equine health practitioners, equine management students etc. It’s a little wordy and scientific (not to mention expensive $77 for a paperback) for the average horse owner. I really hope they can do an “average joe’s” version for the rest of us because I fear the really important information this book contains is going to be lost in translation if it can’t be “dummed down” a bit. Available in Australia through booktopia.com.au or Sydney Uni’s coop-bookshop.com.au See also: Gluck Researcher Publishes Equine Parasite Control Handbook to see what the researchers say about their book. Discuss this article with other users on the Horse Forums. Got News? Send your news stories and press releases to the HorseYard News Desk.

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