AAEP updates parasite control guidelines

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners recently released an updated version of its equine parasite control guidelines.

"Commonly used strategies for parasite control in adult horses are based largely on knowledge and concepts that are more than 50 years old. However, much has changed over this time and information presented on current product labels represents historic information about antiparasitic efficacy but does not necessarily reflect current product performance," according to the document.

The new guidelines continue to recommend an individualized deworming approach and targeted treatments. That's because, as the authors note, "Decades of frequent anthelmintic use have selected for high levels of anthelmintic drug resistance in cyathostomin and Parascaris spp. populations, which emphasizes that the traditional approaches for parasite control are not sustainable and that new strategies are needed."

Two horses in a fenced pasture

As a result, according to the guidelines, frequent anthelmintic treatments are not needed to keep adult horses healthy. Instead, what is needed are properly timed treatments with effective anthelmintics administered at the appropriate time of the year, depending on the epidemiological cycles of transmission and the relative parasite burdens in individual horses.

The AAEP's Parasite Control Subcommittee and the Infectious Disease Committee reviewed the guidelines, which were released in late May.

The recommendations, which provide strategies for veterinarians and horse owners, were originally published in 2013 and included programs for parasite control in horses of all ages but are broken down by adult and young horses. The central suggestion in the guidelines is this: "Each farm (with veterinary guidance) should develop its own program tailored to the specific needs of the farm and each animal. There is no such thing as a 'one-size fits all' program."

Read a copy of the updated guidelines.