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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

These climes, they are a' changing.

Spring is fully in bloom here in Texas. It's a bit weird to me to say that, because the temperature being constantly in the high 70's feels more like summer to me - it feels a bit like I've missed out on the rainy, lush, gorgeous green season that I'm used to. It's still very yellow and brown here, but a lot of things are blooming and turning green in hidden places. We've not had a drop of rain in over a month... in fact, I think we haven't had any precipitation at all since the last snowfall.

Gogo's daily life continues to be simple, day in and day out. In light of all the recent breakthrough and resistance issues with dewormers, I've adopted a new deworming protocol, and you should too. Gone are the days where we could slap a one-side-fits-all deworming schedule for all our horses, religiously administering paste every two months, rotating through two or three different classes of dewormer with careful selection. As it turns out, we're setting ourselves up for future disaster with this schedule - it worked to eradicate the major parasite issues we had up through the 60's, but we no longer have normal healthy horses just dropping dead from parasite overload anymore. We've largely eradiated parasite issues, but we've also set up circumstances where parasites are now evolving to be resistant to our classes of chemical dewormer, ivermectin especially. Some horses may already not respond to treatment anymore, and you could be dumping a wasted chemical into your animal. The only real way to tell is through a fecal sample, and bloodwork for things that don't show up in manure (like encysted strongyles, bots, and tapes). It's difficult to say why certain horses manifest their worm loads the way they do - sometimes a fat, happy horse can be a heavy shedder (releasing lots of eggs back into the pasture), and sometimes a skinny horse might not have any sort of worm load at all - but the point still remains that we need to treat every horse as an individual. We don't slap four shoes on and dump 6lbs of sweet feed into every single horse on our property, do we? So why would we treat every horse with the same deoworming protocol? Those days are over.

My new particular protocol for Gogo at this moment in time with my pasture situation is as follows: Fecal in the spring, fecal in the fall, target for what is needed, and if nothing is needed particular, then do an ivermectin/praziquantel in the spring and a moxidectin in the fall to cover things that I can't see on a fecal. That is going from deworming six times a year to two. That is a BIG change for my totally anal self, but it's absolutely necessary. My pasture is grass, obviously, and it had horses on it before she got there. She was also exposed to Marti when he was here. I pick the front part of my pasture where she likes to poop a lot, but there is still poop out in the vastness of the field that I'll never find, and parasites like to hang out in grass just waiting to be ingested. Gogo missed the evolutionary bandwagon when it comes to things like not eating and pooping in the same spot, so I was concerned that she might have picked something up out there. I've been religious for years when it comes to a three-way rotation, on the 15th of the month every other month, always. But as Solo's mom knows, when it comes to worms you just don't know.

I took Gogo's fecal sample in to the vet's on Monday, and was pleased to hear that it came back completely negative. Despite that, as I mentioned before there are still things that don't show up on fecals - tapes don't show well, and encysted small strongyles obviously won't show either - so I hit her with Equimax today to be on the safe side. She's not coming in contact with any other horses, and she's not going anywhere anytime soon, so her risk of getting infected is pretty low. We'll retest in the fall and see where we stand. I'll have to change this plan should she ever move barns or get another companion. For now, it works very well.

The other thing I am currently doing is a psyllium purge. I've never had to worry about this before, coming from a wet and muddy climate, but one day the other week, I just so happened to look at the ground for some reason a little more closely than I had been doing. Wow, this is really sandy, I thought to myself. Really, really sandy. And the entire floor of she shed is sand. And she's eating food nonstop off of all of this. Oh man... that is a recipe for some sand colic right there. She's not been out there for THAT long that I think she's in any sort of real danger, but still, it is good add this to my monthly to do list as a precautionary measure. She's four days into her purge and no reported problems.

Yep.... our life is not very exciting, but there you are!


Abby said...

If you really were curious about her sand intake, you can put some of her poop in a bucket of water, swirl it around a little, and let it sit for a while. If there is any sand in the poop (and therefore in her gut) then it will sink to the bottom of the bucket. As gross as it is, I've heard it works, but I have never tried it myself.

MalteseLizzieMcGee said...

Silly question, but does a horse need to live in a grassy pasutre to pick up worms, or is it possible for a horse ot get worms even if it lives in a sand or dirt field?

Andrea said...

Abby: Yes, I have heard that too, I just didn't bother and erred on the side of caution and did it anyay ;)

MalteseLizzieMcGee, horses can pick up worms in any number of locations - coming in contact with contaminated manure or ground, being landed on by a bot fly (bots lay eggs on legs which the horses then lick up and ingest), etc... not just on pasture. It's unlikely that horses in situations where their stalls and paddocks get picked regularly will be getting contaminated, but horses who are in contact with a lot of other horses and their manure are more likely to pick up parasites. All horses have parasites already, and they're not usually a problem in small numbers... it's just making sure they don't get to the point where they DO cause problems.

Funder said...

Psyllium is really cheap and easy - I give Dixie the recommended one week per month dose. It's one of the main reasons I have that slow feeder for her hay.

Deworming is so complicated. :-/

Nicku said...

We also recently moved to the fecal sample protocol. I feel a lot better not pumping my horse with chemicals he may not need now! The vet just does them whenever they do their shots. Easy Peasy!

Val said...

Lots of sand here, as we are just miles from the beach. The monthly Sandclear regiment is also our choice for colic prevention.

My barn does "tube worming" twice a year. I think it is overkill (no pun intended), but my BO swears that her horse's had worm problems the one year that she skipped the treatments.

eventer79 said...

*shudder* I have a whole new level of hatred for worms and now cringe every time I watch my horse eating grass. Ignorance is indeed true bliss. Sigh.