Small strongles treatment need not be a worry with AbFen.
The scenario would be like this: you gave your eight-month old weanling a dewormer for the first time using fenbendazole horse wormer. You noticed thin red worms in his feces. You may wonder if this should indicate a follow up treatment using a different active ingredient. If you found your weanling’s feces crowded with worms, it is simply a normal reaction to the drug.
The red worms that you see in his feces are most probably small strongyles. They likely found their way out because the drug has acted upon them. All horses can be infected with small strongyle infection, so it is no surprise to find them in the feces a few days after you have dewormed your horse. However, this observation does not provide the necessary information concerning the efficacy of your chosen dewormer. It is for certain though that the deworming agent has killed some of the worms, but it remains unknown as to how many worms could have survived the drug and are still living inside your horse’s gut. Small strongyles are now known to have developed resistance against fenbendazole-based products worldwide, so it is better to check how well the drug works in your specific location.
The Weanling Stage
As your horse reaches the weanling stage, he is entering an important stage in his life. During this time, foals attain much of their growth and development and they also become prone to different illnesses that can affect their general wellbeing. Worms are among problems in weanlings and they should be treated early on. Apart from ascarids or roundworms which are common in foals, strongyles are another problem for young horses. These equine parasites can affect horses of varying ages but the young ones are more prone to their burdens. When a young horse is heavily infected with strongyles, he could exhibit signs of illnesses such as fever, weight loss, loss of appetite, anemia, weakness, recurrent colics, depression, and even death.
Veterinary Testing for a Healthier Foal
While strongyle infection on your weanling may seem a life-threatening condition for your horse, there’s a way around it. Treatment is one, but prevention is also important as well as early identification of the infection. The only way you can be sure that strongyle infection is present is to have a fecal egg count exam; one should be done during the treatment and another one will be followed 14 days after. Get the help of your local veterinarian for the interpretation of the results. But, generally, fenbendazole (AbFen) should be effective in reducing fecal egg counts by 90% or even more. If the results show that there is less than 80% of the reduction rate, then it strongly suggests that the parasites could be resistant to the drug you are using. If it’s too late to have the pretreatment fecal exam then you can simply run the treatment two weeks after deworming your horse and if the results show about moderate to high egg population, this could be indicative of drug resistance as well. There are other alternatives to treat small strongyle infections and these include ivermectin (AbIver). However, it is still recommended to have a fecal egg count exam to check for drug resistance.
If the results show that there is a low level of parasite eggs, this could be acceptable and should not be a cause for concern; in fact, treatment is not really necessary in this case. Your veterinarian should be able to make worming recommendations based on your horse’s age, the environment you are situated in, as well as the herd size.
Things to Ponder When Caring for Your Young Horse
The control for parasites in horses revolves around proper management, sanitation, and successful drug regimen. It is important to collect manure and compost it to ensure that reinfection and contamination do not occur. If you are keeping several horses, make sure you give them enough space to roam free and keep them from getting too crowded. Crowding your farm usually increases the risk of parasite infection. Keep foals and the weanlings on a separate area from the yearlings to prevent infections from worms such as roundworms.
Another important thing to consider is the dose of your worming agent. Giving too low a dose will only pave way for drug resistance and it tends to develop more quickly. To make sure that your horse will be treated properly, find out its real weight. If you are in doubt, you may use a weight tape to measure.
Worming treatments for horses should be a decision that is guided by your veterinarian. Your farm is different from other people’s farm, so you will also have a unique deworming program suitable for the horses in your area.