May 22nd, 2010 - Parasite Control

  • May 19, 2010
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Almost half a century ago a class of anthelmintics, or dewormers, called benzimidazoles revolutionized horse care. With a powerful new weapon to fight parasites,
horse owners across the country adopted a parasite control schedule that saw horses receive anthelmintics every eight weeks. Deadly parasitic infections became uncommon, and horse health and performance improved.

Today the world of parasites is a very different battlefield. These crafty freeloaders have fought back from the chemical onslaught, and researchers now report high levels of parasite resistance to benzimidazoles and some other types of dewormers. Despite this program on recommendations last laid out when Secretariat won the Triple Crown.

“The vast majority of farms are still locked into antiquated programs that use a blind rotation based on the calendar,” said Dr. Ray Kaplan, a veterinary parasitologist and professor of infectious diseases at the University of Georgia veterinary college. “The reason people continue treating parasites this way is because it’s easy and convenient, but that has to change,” he added.

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