Most horse owners are diligent about deworming their horses on a regular schedule. But there might be a more efficient deworming program that both horses and their owners can benefit from. According to Claudia K. True, DVM, a practitioner with Woodside Equine Clinic in Ashland, Va., basing a deworming program on fecal egg counts allows each horse an individualized deworming schedule and reduces the possibility of developing anthelmintic resistant parasites.

During a presentation at the 2010 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Dec. 4-8 in Baltimore, Md., True outlined an approach to developing a deworming program based on the horse's individual needs by performing routine fecal egg counts.

"The use of routine fecal egg counts allows veterinarians to decide which horses to deworm and when to deworm them," True said. "Our practice implemented routine fecal egg counts in horses over one year of age as part of our wellness program to encourage our clients to adopt responsible anthelmintic use."

Although Woodside's clients initially responded to the program's introduction with mixed opinions, True relayed that the overall response was very positive once the clients understood the process and how it benefited their horses and their bank accounts.

The clinic team divided the horses they examined into two classes: high shedders and low shedders. High shedders' fecal exams contained 300 eggs or more per gram of feces, while low shedders' feces contained less than 300 eggs per gram.

The basic program she and her colleagues outlined for low shedders (which accounts for the majority of