Thursday, July 24, 2008

re-entry and a couple of tangents

Update in the afternoon: Keil Bay's box arrived from Patsy in today's mail so he will be starting his regime tonight! I am SO excited.

I also decided to do a round of pro-biotics for everyone in the barn, so no one will feel left out when Keil Bay gets his. :)


It's always interesting getting back home after a writing retreat, where I had no responsibilities except to write and feed myself. Yesterday morning I got up and went to the barn, where breakfast for the herd evolved into a 4-hour marathon of catching up on barn chores. I came in for less than an hour and then it was time for Salina's mid-day feed, so I went back out. By the time that was underway a fairly scary-looking thunderstorm rolled in, and we actually had yet another one later last night.

The regular turn-out routine has been off due to so much rain, so I'm not sure what to call what the horses are doing - they go out when it's not raining and they come in when we have wind/rain/lightning going on. Yesterday morning I expected them to want to be out after breakfast, since it was not too hot, the sun was out, and there was a ton of green grass to graze. But Keil Bay insisted on staying in the barn with me while I did the chores. It was nice to visit. I let him in the barn aisle and barnyard and he kept a close check on what I was doing.

He knows I'm awaiting his herbs and he is ready for the six weeks of treatment. He doesn't know it yet, but he will be getting two feeds/day again while this is going on, and I can assure you he is going to be THRILLED about that part.

I still feel like I'm outside my regular footprints but am getting closer to "tracking up" today.


On another note, I read Marianne Wiggins' newest novel The Shadow Catcher and highly recommend it, particularly if you like the intermingling of history with a contemporary narrative, and even more particularly if you're a photography nut.

I started Lonesome Dove before leaving, and kept reading while I was there, but I haven't gotten very far into the story. I am very much enjoying it, but haven't quite hit that point where I'm compelled to keep picking up the book to see what happens next. It's nice to have that big fat book and not be racing through it.


And finally, I'm very curious as to what the horseowners who visit here are doing with reference to an equine deworming protocol. I've been reading recently that several of the standard dewormers are losing effectiveness to the point of being not worth using in a rotation.

I've also read that with a few of the drugs, it's becoming more important to overdose a bit to make sure of a good "kill" - so the parasites don't become resistant to those drugs as well.

We do an every other month rotation that is designed to both target specific parasites and time with the first frost, etc. to ensure best results. And my horses have always had clean fecals. But it's seeming that the tide is shifting with regards to what is best, and I'm curious if anyone is making changes.

An alternative I'm considering is switching for a year to a non-chemical deworming program that uses diatomaceous earth along with probiotics. The parasites are killed by the action of the DE on their "bodies" - so they can't become resistant.

I've also been advised to use probiotics 2 weeks after every deworming if I continue the chemical protocol.

What are you doing with your horses? And has anyone reading this done your own horses' fecals? We have a microscope and I'm interested in learning to do those checks myself.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I'll be interested in how Keil Bay makes out with his new system.

I will also check out the book you mentioned, I think I will like it. I read Lonesome Dove years ago and it was hard to get through it, I know I go against the grain by saying I didn't like it at all and found it boring. The mini series however, is one of my all time favorites.So now that I've alienated all the good writers and readers who loved this book on to the next subject.

If you're going to try the diatomaceous earth, then get a fecal kit (i think they sell them in kv vet) or take them to the vet (i think it's like $5 or $10, which you would spend on wormer anyway) and test every month.

Our plan of attack is staying on top of pasture maintenance - keeping them well mowed, not overcrowding them and dragging manure on sunny, dry days, (and quarantining and worming new horses).

Our program varies based on the fecals and the condition of the horses, whose immune system might be compromised (say, due to lyme disease or age, stress, etc. - in which case we might do a daily wormer temporarily just to keep them protected). But normally, we would do a panacur power pac once a year and ivermectin with praziquantel 2x per year with maybe strongid in between. If anyone looks a little rough, we test fecals, but we are going to switch over to testing first and then worming accordingly, though we'll probably still do the ivermectin/praziquantel 2x just to be on the safe side, since the tapeworms are really nasty and hard to treat. Our problem in the past has been with ascarids (due to poorly managed pastures at a previous farm where we leased,) so we would make sure to do the panacur power pacs at least twice a year, and put them on a daily wormer) but our current farm doesn't have a roundworm problem so it's not as important, and we don't worm nearly as often. It may be different depending on the horse, the farm you're at, etc., so testing is the best way to determine what to use, and it's cheap enough to send them to the vet and see what to treat for rather than just automatically worming every month - and it think it works out cheaper than buying wormer you don't need and causing resistance in the parasite population.

billie said...

LOL about not liking Lonesome Dove (the novel) - when I lived in Hollywood I made the announcement that I did not like The Terminator and many people thought I had gone crazy. The great thing about movies and novels is that there are a gazillion of them and thus we can all have our favorites. :)

The one woman I know who uses the DE/probiotic dewormer does do fecals monthly and her horses have been clean for 3 years now, so I know it's working for her but she also has the info to guide her if by chance it stops.

I like what you're doing - which is do the deworming AS INDICATED by the fecals.

We have always had the vet do them but in the interest of learning a new skill and being able to do the fecals at my leisure (now THAT sounds pretty funky, doesn't it? :) I am really interested in learning to do them myself.

I think I'll do fecals in Sept. when the vet comes, treat accordingly, and then do the DE/probiotics with monthly fecals through the winter.

I couldn't stand waiting until tonight to get Keil Bay started on his herbs, so when I fed Salina her mid-day, I went ahead and gave Keil Bay his first dose. He ate it all right up and seemed quite excited about the prospect of an actual tub with feed in it when he knew it wasn't breakfast.

I'm so impressed - the herbs are packaged, labeled, and explained beautifully and everything is human/food grade except the probiotic paste which is for horses specifically.

I am sort of a nut about how things are packaged and arranged, and this was so perfectly packed, and all those labeled bags full of good stuff with the paper-clipped instructions and explanations just made me want to jump up and down.

Remember shopping for school supplies every fall? This was something akin to that feeling of having everything organized and ready to go. Anyway - one of my quirks. :)

Thanks so much for typing in your deworming protocol. I'm glad I asked. That was just what I needed to hear.