Monday, February 02, 2009

Parasites in horses: are you playing your part?

Worm Control Series at
Denmark's approach to parasites in horses should have owners around the world thinking about how well they manage the worm burden in their animals.

Horse owners in Western countries largely take for granted the fact they can walk into any saddlery or veterinary clinic and buy a drench. There are unlikely to be questions about what parasites you intend targeting or whether the active ingredients in that particular brand will do the job you intend.

Denmark changed all that in 1999.

Over-the-counter sales went out the window and sales of drenches, more properly called anthelmintics, became prescription only. It placed worm control firmly back under the control of veterinarians, who have to be satisfied a horse's worm burden is such that it requires dosing.

Many horse owners would see this as a bad idea and only adding to the cost of worm control in their animals.

However, Denmark may not be the last Western country to tighten controls over drenches, as concern grows worldwide over parasite resistance.

The unfortunate reality is that many horse owners use drenches inappropriately and, in doing so, are fuelling the growth of parasite resistance to drenches.


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