Category Archives: Education

Antiparasitic Resistance Invokes FDA Request

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Resistance to dewormer products currently available on the market has caused the FDA to invoke a request that animal drug companies voluntarily revise their product labels for their approved anthelmintics used in livestock, including horses.

 

This edict brings the issue of antiparastic resistance front and center and horse owners may wish to heed the advice that the FDA has provided in regard to the need to engage in a targeted, evidence based worm control program for their equines to include fecal equine control testing (F.E.C.T.). The F.D.A. also heralded the importance of retesting (F.E.C.R.T) after administration of an appropriate dewormer treatment. This is necessary to gauge the effectiveness of the treatment.

 

This an excerpt from the FDA statement regarding their request for voluntary additional labeling:

 

New Labeling Information about Antiparasitic Resistance
Cattle, Small Ruminants, and Horses ~

 

Antiparasitic resistance is particularly concerning in grazing species (cattle, sheep, goats, and horses). Because these animals are continually exposed to worm eggs on the pasture, they can have repeated parasite infections. FDA has requested that animal drug companies add the following statements to the labels of all anthelmintics for cattle, small ruminants, and horses:

  • Parasite resistance may develop to any dewormer, and has been reported for most classes of dewormers.
  • Do not underdose. Ensure each animal receives a complete dose based on a current body weight. Underdosing may result in ineffective treatment, and encourage the development of parasite resistance.
  • Treatment with a dewormer used in conjunction with parasite management practices appropriate to the geographic area and the animal(s) to be treated may slow the development of parasite resistance.
  • Fecal examination {F.E.C.T.} or other diagnostic tests and parasite management history should be used to determine if the product is appropriate for the herd/flock, prior to the use of any dewormer. Following the use of any dewormer, effectiveness of treatment should be monitored (for example, with the use of a fecal egg count reduction test {F.E.C.R.T.} or another appropriate method).
  • A decrease in a drug’s effectiveness over time as calculated by fecal egg count reduction tests may indicate the development of resistance to the dewormer administered. Your parasite management plan should be adjusted accordingly based on regular monitoring.”

How has this parasite resistant situation developed you might ask? The overuse of dewormers brings with it increasing likelihood of even larger equine internal parasite populations that have developed resistance to current dewormers on the market. Inappropriate dosing either due to the horse spitting out the dewormer at time of administration or wrong weight estimations for dosage are also causes for dewormer resistance to begin. But the main cause comes down to the survival process part of which is successful reproduction.

 

When you administer a dewormer product to your horse it will necessarily be most effective against the adult sexually active worms that are the most sensitive and it will leave behind those worms that are the most resistant. Now you have created a selective breeding situation. These resistant adult worms will now mate together to create more highly dewormer resistant worms.

 

As a result, eventually the dewormer will become useless as a method for treatment of worms in that equine population and their environment. As horses move around from place to place, these resistant worms are spread on the pasture to other grazing herds.

 

There are many options to source for your testing needs but be certain to find one that offers full consultation services to address questions you may encounter if your F.E.C.R.T. does not showcase the expected 90% reduction in the shedding worm count.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information.

 

About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International and national published freelance writer and photographer in such world renowned publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Horse and Hound, Dressage and CT, Warmbloods Today, The Horseman’s Yankee Pedlar, Reiter, The Equine Journal, Spur, Hoofprints, Horsin’ Around, Horses All, Field & Stream, Western Horse and Gun, Pony Quarterly, Horses All Canada, Catskill Horse to name a few. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing copy either direct with manufacturer or for agencies, copy editing and editor services also available. Nikki also produces catalog copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures and advertising copy for international corporations and PR/Marketing for celebrities.

 

As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 34 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international Grand Prix level to scores over 72% and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Baroque breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run a private dressage breeding operation and training yard in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York.

 

Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about the affordable freelance writing services on offer

Equine Transaction Task Force Aims to Educate Members to Buy, Sell, and Lease Horses with Confidence

by Kathleen Landwehr, US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 11, 2019, 9:00 PM EST

The Buying, Selling, and Leasing Horses with Confidence panel on Friday discussed their focus over the past year and how they hope to educate members. US Equestrian staff attorney Amelia Sandot moderated the panel with members of the Equine Transaction Task Force and guest speakers covering this issue facing the horse industry.

The task force was formed to help members navigate equine transactions and to identify what can be done to counter how misrepresentation in horse sales and leases negatively affects the industry. Since the group’s inception, they agreed to start with reasonable goals and engage a diverse group of members with the aim of US Equestrian providing transaction resources and education for members. The task force continues to focus on education, professionalizing the process, and resources for when things go wrong.

Education

Task force members Lisa Blackstone, Elisabeth Goth, Janine Malone, and Judy Sloan recapped the group’s steps to educate members. The task force created the Equine Transaction Packet with relevant educational materials for members to address asymmetric information, where the buyer knows less than the seller. Since it is relatively easy to buy a horse with undisclosed issues, the packet stresses the importance and role of a professional trainer or agent in the transaction process and emphasize communications between parties. It also touches on the commission process.

  • “Our first question was ‘What can we do? What is the first step?’ and the obvious answer is educate more people and produce more information that can be handed out.” – Janine Malone
  • “I think this [packet] is a good start, but it needs to go farther. Part of the problem is we need to get to these people before the first transaction takes place, not afterwards. I think for that reason that the more that USEF can have educational things available on the website and these kinds of handouts to get that word out that they need to get educated before they sign on the dotted line–and to make sure they do sign on a dotted line instead of just having a handshake.” – Lisa Blackstone

Professionalizing the Process

Kate Levy does an exercise during her remarks as a panelists (Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Task force members Debbie Bass, Goth, and Judy Werner and guest Kate Levy elaborated on how the equine transaction process can be professionalized. The task force points out that buyers and sellers should be able to rely on some “standard of business” to know that a trainer or agent will act as a fiduciary on behalf of the buyer, and that the starting point for ensuring transparency is at the buyer/agent/trainer relationship level. California, Florida, and Kentucky have focused their laws against dual agency on the buyer’s agent in an attempt to protect the process. New companies have emerged to assist buyers, sellers, and agents with transactions, but if you have concerns about a transaction, consult professional legal counsel.

  • “I sell only on a contract. I am breeder, so therefore I don’t buy, I sell. Even with broodmares, I insist on selling on a contract, and it is a contract that is updated by my lawyer about every year in the spring. The reason I do that is because, years ago, I bought horse on a contract and it was a bad contract. … My advice is to sell on a contract, and when you do sell on a contract, make sure you have somebody who understands horse transactions.” – Judy Werner
  • “A horse’s health was at the heart of nearly every purchase decision [based on my research]. A horse’s health is the common denominator that transcends transactions in any discipline, price point, use, or level.” – Kate Levy

Resources for When Things Go Wrong

Task force members Goth and Armand Leone, members of the task force, and guests Steven Tarshis and Debbie Hanson discussed what actions can be taken when things do not go as planned. When there is a bad equine transaction, the task force recommends seeking help from an attorney. A next step is to establish a voluntary registry for professionals and horse owners to register, stating that they agree to abide by specific principles in equine transactions, then publicizing this registry and highlighting people on the registry. The US Equestrian Hearing Committee can reciprocate penalties involving civil or criminal dispositions to an extent. The committee has the ability to invoke a suspension, fine, or revoke an official’s license, but it does not have subpoena power and cannot award monetary penalties between members.

“Attorney fees in transactions for leasing or buying a horse are very, very little compared to the expense of what probably is going to be spent in the purchase or lease.” – Steven Tarshis

“It is important to ask your trainer or agent to talk to the seller and have a whole list of how the money will be disbursed. … You have the right to ask. If you are not getting answers, that is a red flag.” – Armand Leone

Watch the on-demand panel video on USEF Network.

Equine Strongyle Worms Weather The Winter

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

Like many horse owners I was under the assumption that freezing temperatures in winter would kill off any small strongyle worm eggs or larvae on horse pastures, and stop the life cycle of these parasites when they are outside of their equine host.

 

Apparently that is not the case. Surprisingly, the small strongyle can survive not just freezing temperatures, but also freeze and thaw cycles. There is no such thing as a ‘killing frost’ where strongyle worms are concerned, as Dr. Neilsen and Dr. Reinemeyer explain in their wonderful Handbook of Equine Parasite Control 2nd Edition.

 

While there are environmental factors of moisture and oxygen availability to be considered as critical components in the development life of the strongyle worm, the effect of temperature plays a significant part in its survival.

 

Optimum temperature for egg and larvae development is in the range of 77-91 degrees Fahrenheit. While non-optimal conditions may slow the rate of hatching and development of the strongyle worm, studies conducted by Dr. Nielsen indicate that unembryonated eggs can survive occasional freeze/thaw cycles up to 97 days.

 

When you think about the insulating effects of a light layer of snow on animal and plant life on the surface of the soil and the likelihood that worm eggs are often located in equine fecal balls, the microenvironment for the strongyle worm can be kept at a relatively constant temperature close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This provides an effective level of protection for the worm eggs from repeated freeze and thaw cycles.

 

That is not to conclude that long term freezing doesn’t damage strongyle eggs and reduce larval yield significantly. It indicates that the horse owner still needs to be vigilant about their targeted horse worm control program throughout the year.

 

It is important to remember that worms enjoy a life ‘cycle’ and that their life is not one in stasis. This means that even if you have dewormed your horse following an initial positive F.E.C.T. (fecal egg worm test) and have a negative shedding egg worm count when you conduct a follow up test F.E.C.R.T. (fecal egg count reduction test), it does not mean that the stronglye worm is not present in its host the horse, laying wait in an encysted stage in the intestinal mucosal layer for shedding later. It also means that worm eggs may be present on the pasture that may have survived cold or warm temperatures.

 

A smart horse owner will therefore take the precaution to pick up manure on a regular basis from the pastures to reduce the degree of contamination of the horse herd from infective parasites and also enact a regular F.E.C.T. program to keep abreast of the levels of strongyles present in the herd and administer appropriate dewormer treatments.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!

 

This article is brought to you courtesy of Horsemen’s Laboratory Inc., Mahomet, IL. –

 

About Horsemen’s Laboratory: Established in 1993 by John Byrd D.V.M., an experienced lifelong horseman and a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. As an equine medicine practitioner in California for 13 years, Dr. Byrd served as ex-officio member of the board of directors of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association where he also served as the organization’s official sales veterinarian.  In addition, Dr. Byrd frequently officiated, as veterinarian for horse shows sponsored by the management of Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California.  Dr. Byrd’s extensive experience with horses led him to observe how a horse’s health could impact performance leading to the founding of the specialist lab for equine fecal worm egg counts. Please visit https://www.horsemenslab.com/ to find out more about F.E.C.T. services available directly to the horse owner including; advice on equine fecal egg count testing; quick and easy purchase of test kits online; reporting and expert consultation services. Dr. Byrd enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge of equine parasitology with horse owners from all walks of life, and is available to provide lectures/symposiums for your club, organization or event. Please contact Dr. Byrd via his website for rates and further information

Why You Should Care About Evidence Based Equine Parasite Control

 

 

 

By Nikki Alvin-Smith

 

The stark reality about dewormers and their use in horses, is that worms of variant types are becoming resistant to the products currently available on the market. According to experts in equine parasitology there are no new dewormer products on the horizon. So as a horse owner you probably don’t want to ignore the fact that you are either contributing to the dewormer resistant problem, or are one of the growing number of enlightened horse owners that are taking responsibility by not following an ancient unsustainable protocol in equine worm management.

 

How do you know if you are doing the right thing? The answer is a hard NO if you answer YES to any of the following:

 

  • Are you a horse owner that uses a variety of anthelmintics on a random rotational basis?
  • Do you deworm your horses based on a fixed calendar schedule?
  • Do you treat your herd of horses before moving them to a new pasture?
  • Do you deworm your horses based on the weather, such as immediately after the first frost?

 

So are you guilty of following an antique protocol that may be contributing to a dewormer resistant equine worm population? Unfortunately the arbitrary nature of these aforementioned actions does nothing to target the worms with an efficient treatment. They waste your money, subject your horse to unnecessary chemicals and make little sense in the modern world of equine parasitology. But it’s not too late to fix things.

 

Think about why you deworm your horses in the first place? Presumably, you wish to optimize your horses’ health and performance. Excellent! That’s a great premise. How do you know if you are being successful in achieving that goal? Bear in mind that a horse can show no outward signs of the presence of worms, but as host his immune system or other mechanisms may be compromised by their presence.

 

Should you worry about dewormer resistance and do you know how to check your herd for the issue and know what you can do to try and mitigate its presence or perhaps even prevent it happening in the first place?

 

Many boarding barns insist that all horses are dewormed on a set schedule and many horse owners follow along blindly. The blind leading the blind! It is important to understand that no deworming program will entirely destroy all parasites in the horse or his environment. The goal is to minimize the presence of infective parasites in both the pasture and the herd, and to enact control measures that are customized for each particular farm.

 

The only method to do this is to utilize an evidence based targeted deworming program, and that means you need to test your horses scientifically using a fecal egg count test (F.E.C.T.). This testing will provide you with an indication of what worms are present and in what numbers and most importantly, in which members of the herd.

 

Once you have these results you can evaluate your present treatment protocol, administer any necessary adjustments with a dewormer targeted for the particular type of worm, follow the worm’s lifecycle and retest. The retest or fecal egg count reduction test (F.E.C.R.T) can be completed at the appropriate time interval after dewormer administration, to ascertain whether there has been a significant reduction that is expected of 90% – 95% worm egg count. If this has not occurred, you may have a dewormer resistant parasite population and other treatments should be enacted with the advice from your vet or equine parasitology expert. It is important that your entire horse herd population be tested and not just one horse in order to obtain an accurate picture of the possible contamination with infective parasites.

 

Knowledge is a powerful tool in horse health management. With the clear scientific evidence from leaders in equine parasitology such as Dr. Martin Nielsen and Dr. Craig Reinemeyer amongst many others, that dewormer resistance is a real issue, please think about becoming an active part of the solution in combating the overuse and misuse of anthelmintics.

 

Unlike some countries in Europe, where dewormers are only available by prescription, we are fortunate in the U.S.A. to be entrusted to buy our deworming products over the counter and administer them as we see fit. Always follow directions as to dosage and never over or underdose. Use a weight tape to measure your horse, ensure that each horse receives the entire required dosage and that it isn’t spit out or lands on your new barn coat! Follow an up to date protocol that is evidence based. Note that some dewormer product manufacturers have recently changed the packaging so check each product carefully for changes and go by the instructions on the label.

 

We all need to preserve dewormer efficacy for our horses’ benefit and if we all step up to help it will make a positive difference for us all. Testing is simple and convenient to do. Kits can be purchased online for the purpose. Follow the collection instructions and mail them in. Results will be emailed, and if you need help managing those results or advice on what products to administer and when, consult an equine parasitology expert.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit or excerpt, in any media format on condition that credit is given to Horsemen’s Laboratory, and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication. Horsemen’s Laboratory URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL must be included.  We would appreciate notification of any publication via email to media contact Nikki@NikkiAlvinSmithStudio.com Thank-you for sharing!