A reader asked me to elaborate on my worming protocol and I was surprised to find out I have never really addressed it on the blog. Huh, and I thought I rambled on endlessly about every aspect of Brego...
Anyway, when I first got Brego, he had all the classic signs of being wormy and I completely missed it. Long, frazzled coat, no top line, poor condition, big belly, no energy, etc.
I took Brego to my vet for a chiropractic adjustment and she damn near pulled an intervention and gave me the scoop on worming. Like all vets, she can tend to be an alarmist, but unlike most vets, she researches the latest and knows her stuff. She maintained that most horses (in Texas anyway) carried worms that were largely Ivermectin resistant and so to not even bother with the "cheap stuff". She also said that larger horses run a greater risk of carrying a parasite load because people cheap out and buy them one tube, even if their weight calls for more.
So here was Brego, wormed with a single tube of Ivermectin on who knows what schedule his entire life. Classic.
So we got to work. She recommended a Panacur Powerpak to get rid of the blood parasites and heavy worm load. This is her protocol verbatim:
Protocol for Treatment of Blood Parasites
Give one box of Panacur Power Pak dewormers, 1 tube per 1000 lb horse
per day for 5 days
Wait 10 days
Give one tube of Quest Gel or Quest Plus per 1000lb horse
Wait two weeks
Give one tube of Quest Gel or Quest Plus per 1000 lb horse
Wait at least 5 days after the last dewormer to start Sefacon
treatment (for EPM, if necessary).
You can deworm the horse every 2 months with Quest or Quest Plus and
if you choose to rotate wormers, you can give Equimax every third time
instead of Quest. You can also give Anthelcide EQ every third time.
I have modified the protocol slightly. I always rotate between Quest Plus, Equimax, and Anthelcide EQ. I also ALWAYS give the proper dosage which gets very expensive because I basically need to buy an extra tube of everything. I am careful not to overdose with Quest, but I do occasionally double dose Equimax, as I recently reported.
I did talk to my vet about daily wormers and she was not fond of them. She saw parasite loads in horses that were supposedly on daily wormers, some of which may be unreliable barn help. I know we had lots of trouble at previous barns getting the help to deliver supplements daily. So now I give paste wormers and record the data in a calendar so I am sure Brego is being wormed. I also switched from oral joint supplements to Adequan IM for partly this reason.
I also support Brego's system around a worming by adding priobiotic to his feed, making sure not to overwork him, being sensitive to foot soreness or other side effects. I have also given holistic remedies in the past to support the kidneys and livers as they help flush the toxins, but I am out and have not replenished the supply.
After I switched to the more aggressive worming protocol, Brego started to grow a better coat, dapple up, get a topline, get more energy. It was a complete 180 degrees. I am no longer ambivalent about worming, even though I tend towards more holistic care. It's a necessary evil to keep Brego as healthy as possible.