When it comes to equine parasite control, we’ve gotten the message. We know now that we need to change the way we deworm our horses, no longer taking the standard four-dewormings-a-year approach. The new preferred method is to check for eggs in horses’ feces first, to make sure we’re not medicating for only a light parasite load that doesn’t need treatment.

But let’s be honest. Are you really doing this on your horse farm? What about our friends and fellow horse owners? As much as the new method is, in theory, ideal, the reality is some owners are reluctant to put it into practice because it’s time-consuming and expensive. At $15 to $30 per coproscopy (fecal analysis) in standard laboratories, it just seems easier to go ahead and buy a dewormer.

However, French researchers are looking into ways to encourage owners and breeders to help fight resistance by using the fecal analysis approach. They’ve carried out an investigation that puts the finances into perspective—and they’ve found that in certain situations, mainly stable herds of adults, analyzing feces first can be a better deal.

“The preliminary results of our study showed that with the use of coproscopy in a mixed herd of adult and young horses, expenses related to deworming medications can be reduced by 80%,” said Guillaume Sallé, DVM, PhD, of the French National Agricultural Institute, in Nouzilly. He presented his findings at the 2015 French Equine Research Day, held in March in Paris.

In their experimental conditions with a herd of more than 150 Welsh ponies over a period of four years, they found that the ana