Equine parasite guidelines available

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed the first official set of guidelines for parasite control in horses.

The guidelines were written by a subcommittee of the AAEP Infectious Disease Committee that spent the last several years formulating the document.

Stabled horses

The document is intended for use by veterinarians who encounter cases or outbreaks of a parasitic disease in horses. In these events, veterinarians are expected to recommend measures to promptly contain the disease, such as isolation and treatment of affected individuals, while preventing spread of the disease to unaffected animals. The purpose of these guidelines is to emphasize the importance of an effective first response by providing a clear, concise action plan encompassing identification of clinical signs through diagnosis of the disease.

The guideline authors write that the goal should never be to eradicate any parasite, as not only is this impossible, but also, it may cause parasite drug resistance. Instead, the goals should be to minimize the risk of parasitic disease, control parasite egg shedding, maintain effective drug control, and avoid further development of anthelmintic resistance as much as possible.

Guidelines are specified separately for adult horses and horses younger than 3 years. All treatment and other recommendations are made within the context of a preventive program in which fecal egg count surveillance is being performed.

The document also says the guidelines are only suggestions, and that each farm—with veterinary guidance—should develop its own program tailored to the specific needs of the farm and each animal.

The document is available here under the “Guidelines” tab.