Dr. Dave Biehl

Dr. Dave Biehl, Heartland Veterinary Supply

Most everyone in these tough economic times is trying to cut their expenses. Horse owners are no exception. However, cutting corners on your deworming and vaccination program may end up costing you more in the long run.

For example, let’s look at tapeworm infestations. Tapeworms are found in all the states in the United States. In fact, in some areas of the US, tapeworm exposure is 95%. In the upper Midwest and along the East and Southern coast, tapeworms account for 30% of all colics. How serious are tapeworms? Tapeworms (Anoplocephala perfoliata) cause 22% of the spasmodic colics which can cause mild to serve abdominal pain. Abdominal pain in horses is easily treated in most cases, but there is always an expense involved. It can be as little as a few dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the severity. In addition to colic, tapeworms can cause a horse to have poor digestion with a thickening of the
intestinal lining. This leads to a horse that is unthrifty and a horse that needs more feed to maintain body weight – thus increasing your expenses.



So, what do we do about tapeworms in horses? The best time to worm for tapes is in the fall. There are four products that are available to rid your horse of tapeworms. All of the products contain Praziquantel, which works quite well against this parasite. They are Equimax (Ivermectin/Praziquantel), Zimecterin Gold (Ivermectin/Praziquantel), and Quest Plus (Moxidectin/Praziquantel). They will run from $10-$14 depending on where you find them. The fourth product available is an oral liquid Ivermectin/Praziquantel that comes in a 10-dose or 20-dose bottle. It has a cost of around $7-$8 per 1100 lb horse and is available through heartlandvetsupply.com as an Rx product.

Fall vaccinations for equine influenza and rhinopneumonitis are also important if your horse is in a high exposure situation. By that I mean if your horse is stabled where there are a lot of horses coming and going, or if you take your horse to shows, trail rides, or racetracks. Influenza and rhino are most easily spread by direct contact with infected horses or contact with stalls, waters, or feeders, where infective horses have recently been. Even if you had these two diseases covered in spring vaccinations, I would booster them this fall. Treating these two respiratory diseases can get expensive let alone the loss in training time or loss of useful time spent with your horse while recuperating. The vaccines I recommend are: Calvenza-03 – it is new and has the latest strains. It can be given by intramuscular injection or intranasally; Fort Dodge’s Flu Vac Innovator EHV-4/1 2ml injection given intramuscular; or Intervet’s Prestige II, a one ml intramuscular injection.

My advice for this fall season: Deworm for tapes and vaccinate.

Contributed by Dr. Dave Biehl, Heartland Veterinary Supply www.heartlandvetsupply.com