Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Rasp, Treat Training and Parasite Free

My new SaveEdge Rasp came!  It's a beautiful tool - well-made and balanced in the hand.  Mrs. Mom at Oh HorseFeathers did a post recently that inspired me to begin to creep towards doing some care of my horses' feet.  Pie is barefoot and has always been and I'm planning to keep him that way, so learning more about basic hoof care is on my program.  I don't know if I'll ever get to the point of doing my own trimming, but I think I can learn to use a rasp for clean-up between trims.  Next time my farrier's out, I'll ask him to give me few pointers.  Pie's getting much better about picking up his feet and holding them up for me, so this should be something we can easily do.

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I've been feeding treats by hand to Pie.  I'm not one of those people who believes horses shouldn't have hand-fed treats, and in fact I think it can be a good way to show appreciation to the horse.  But I'm a big believer in treat-taking manners, and in fact using treats can be a great way to help train a horse to be respectful of your personal space.  I've done this with Dawn, and she now takes a step back and waits for me to feed a treat.  I use clicker training to do this.  The first step is to establish the connection in the horse's mind between a click (I just click my tongue) and the treat.  Pie's already right on that one, to the point of starting to become a mooch.  The next step will be to teach him that he gets a click and treat when he takes a step back.  I expect that will be very easy - he's a quick learner.  With Dawn I've gone on to use clicker very successfully to help her with her reactivity to scary objects and to increase her trust in me.  Pie has no fear of scary objects, so no need for that work with him, but I expect we'll find other fun things to do with clicker over the winter.

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A comment by the vet who did Pie's pre-purchase exam got me thinking again about worming.  I've done different types of worming - rotational paste worming as well as daily Strongid with twice-yearly paste worming.  My horses have done well with both programs.  The vet said that she no longer recommended either rotational or daily deworming, due to the increased resistance the parasites are showing to the various deworming medicines.  She recommended taking fecal samples and having them tested.  So I did that recently - I took samples from each of Dawn, Pie and Scout to our vet for testing.  All came back parasite-negative, which was good news.  I'll take another set of samples in the spring, and only use wormer if something shows up, and will then use the specific wormer needed for the specific parasites.  That reminds me that I need to get the bot fly eggs off Pie's legs before he ingests any of them, using a disposable razor - we've never had bots at our barn.

What sort of deworming program do you follow?

22 comments:

  1. At the barn where I keep Scout, we've recently switched to the new deworming protocol. All six horses tested zero for parasites and were designated as low shedders. That means we'll not be deworming until next April, and then we'll use just the specific paste our clinic directs. I'm totally in favor of the new protocol, by the way. The less interference with the horse, the better.

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  2. I try to identify the horses who are naturally "high shedders" and they are de-wormed more aggresively.

    I essentially never worm a horse with single doses of fenbendazole or pyrantel as the resistance is so high to both of these (and so well documented). Of course there are other worming protocols where using double doses of these classes can be effective such as doing a PowerPak. If I know a horse is coming here after being on a daily de-wormer I administer ivermectin the day they get off the trailer.

    And of course it is always good to keep in mind that if your horse has neck threadworms, encysted strongyles, tapeworms or pinworms these are not going to show up in a fecal sample. So you can have a "clean" fecal but it does not mean the horse doesn't have a worm load. Before someone points it out I will say on the very, very rare occasion you might get super lucky and have a tapeworm segment in a fecal or a pinworm but it would be very rare for these to be found in a fecal sample.

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  3. I used to worm my horses every two-three months and then I had two fecal counts taken several weeks apart. They both came back negative so I will not be worming them with any product until I get more fecal counts in the spring. The region is so dry out here that I think it interrupts the cycle. For a long time now I have suspected that they were worm free.

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  4. For me, the best worming program is picking stalls, pastures and paddocks everyday. I prefer that to poisioning my horses on a regular basis. Interesting...vets used to want you to worm all the time, which turned into overworming and here we are. Fortunately, I never wormed that way. I'm for taking fecal samples and will worm once the weather stays cold and then again in the spring.

    It has been said that the chemicals we use in and on our dogs can reduce their lives by 25%. Does anyone know if this is true? I have also been told that some of the wormers and flea meds you buy over the counter are cancer causing (Walmart, Tractor Supply etc.). What about that one? Logically, it seems to me that we over medicate people and our animals and have manipulated natural immunities...that's another issue.

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  5. Melissa, thank you for pointing that out. I am distrustful of fecal samples because of that, so I worm once per season instead of once every 8 weeks.

    Kate, I hope you read Aarene's recent post about treat-training her dominant mare Fiddle. Now that mare is hilarious, she will stand there and offer trick after trick but she will not invade your space because that has never earned her a treat. Aarene has done wonders with her formerly pushy mare!

    My man started rewarding Baasha for "posing like a halter horse" so now everytime my man walks by the stall, Baasha sticks his nose up in the air as high as he can reach, almost the ceiling. If that doesn't work, he starts offering his front legs to shake hands. It's adorable and it usually works, my man keeps carrots in his office in the barn.

    Right now I'm trying to train Baasha to cuddle/hug me. It's a hard one because he's been told to stay out of my space. I have a signal for it though, so I hope it works.

    If you have time, please take a look at my blog today, the story of the barnsour mare. Very long story, I should warn you!

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  6. I am lucky iun that the parasite resistance here in Alberta is about nil. I do a spring and fall program and then because the herd is on such a large pasture we just kida go as needed .the difference is only the babies , who of course tend to have a higher worm load .I do mom when foal is born and the baby gets a 2 step (piperazine then ivermectin 2 weeks later ) at weaning . fecal counts here done randomly over the years have been all good

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  7. Our vets recommended that we do the same with fecal samples. We've been worming a lot less as a result.

    We don't feel that treat training is bad either. I know a lot of people say it's no good but it's the best way to reward for a job well done or when trying to teach a new behavior. The clicker step-back training is a good idea and I might give it a try over the winter too.

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  8. I wish the barn I board at would change their protocol and do the fecal sample thing and worm as needed. But they are old school, and it's part of their service. Just another reason I can't wait to get my own place....

    As for treats... I'm all for them! I do a lot of stretching tricks with treats, which also includes a bow posture. It's hilarious to see big ole Rosie put her muzzle to the ground BETWEEN and somewhat behind her front hooves!

    With Bonnie, when I take a young student off lead line for the first time, I have treats in my pockets. Bonnie follows me like a puppy dog and I end up playing a very controlled game of "Follow the leader" with them.

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  9. Kate, you also might want to check out adding food grade diatomaceous earth as a supplement to their grain. We have not had any worm problems at all with our horses. We do fecal samples twice a year with our vet to keep watch, but our vet says our horses are as worm free as any horses he has seen.

    Just Google diatomaceous earth to get more information.

    Dan

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  10. Hand feeding at my barn is a BIG no no, let alone messing with a horses face. It's just a rule that we follow when it comes to Net's horses. For the most part, I have the same feelings about hand-feeding, but I'm not such a stickler about it. Mostly, I just have the opinion that people can make their own decisions about their own horses, and if someone tells you not to hand-feed their horse, don't do it...

    I guess I just feel that if you're constantly hand-feeding horses, then they're more likely to bite and not respect personal space...That's just the take I have on it...Hand-feeding works for some people, and that's fine too!

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  11. I think hand-feeding is just fine, as long as you teach your horse manners. I inadvertently taught my horse a way to "ask" for treats (other than mouthing), which seems to have virtually eliminated mouthing. (I never let him, but occasionally he would when he really wanted one and I wasn't offering.) I taught him to nod his head when I ask, "Do you want a treat?" and now he uses the nod to request one when I'm not offering, INSTEAD of mouthing me. I hadn't thought of it that way when I taught him the nod, but it works quite well for both of us!

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  12. I think your worming routine has to reflect your situation. When we boarded at a 100+ horse show barn (lots of coming and going), we wormed every six weeks and vaccinated for everything. Now we have three horses on 41 acres, keep all poop picked up, and worm less.

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  13. My Boys are on the Strongid 2X daily wormer. I started that to get them enrolled in the colic insurance. I've just kept them on it since.

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  14. I still do a rotational deworming program, and deworm every 6 weeks-ish. I have a schedule all worked out. Horses are moved around a lot at my barn and the manure management is terrible.

    I treat both of my horses by hand. They know not to invade my space and beg, and they're both very good about accepting the treats. There are times where they'll start searching for treats, like over the stall door or something, but they only lick and don't bite. I'm probably teaching them terrible habits, but they're mine and I can do what I want! :)

    I've met some horses that can't be treated by hand no matter what... a gelding I used to have was one of them. He was really mouthy and treats made him even worse.

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  15. I recently purchased a series of how-to-trim videos from http://www.hoofmechanics.com/ and I highly recommend them. Together they cost about $20, not bad since they are the best video instruction I've found.

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  16. We heard about the parasites drug resistance thing a while ago and our horses are in such a large area we basically worm twice a year, more if they look a little thin or too hairy or butt rubbing. I think the fecal exam would be a good thing to start doing.

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  17. I agree with most of the commenters--I quit the rotational worming when we moved them out on pasture. Now I do it as needed and they've all done great.

    As for treats--I agree with you--we should be able to do anything with our horses and teach/expect respect. I'm not one of those who always has a treat for my horses--I surprise them. So, they're never "expecting" it--which makes it more of a "treat" when they do get it. My horses are part of my real day to day, hour to hour life, and life has many variables.

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  18. I'm in a fairly busy show barn that has a lot of horse come on the property because we host local shows plus the shows that our horses travel to. So we do the rotational worming and also vaccinate for everything. I think if I had my own place and wasn't travelling to shows then I'd feel more comfortable with an "as needed" approach to worming.

    On the treat topic I was at a barn once that forbade hand feeding, and it made sense for them. It was a lesson barn with LOTS of kids and families coming through on a daily basis. Many people would bring a bag of carrots or apples and want to feed a lot of horses. Multiply that by, say, five every day and you get a lot of treat craving horses which often develops to nippy horses. Personally I like to reward with a treat and will feed two or three by hand if in the cross ties. If the horse is back in the stall, or has nibbly tendencies, I'll give one by hand then toss the rest in their feed tub.

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  19. I have really found that by doing my own trimming my horses are so much better at picking up their feet. I think the number one reason is I NEVER drop their feet. I always set it down. I think once they figure that out they stand very well, and if I do us a farrier they don't end up dropping them because the horses do stand so well. It's a great circular-situation :)


    I have had a lot of problems with resistance in the past because I have kept my horses on such a strict rotation, so I'm going to look into testing as well and trying to do more organic forms of control, including removing bot eggs off of legs, picking up ALL manure in even all the outside areas, etc. I will go ahead and do an ivermectin dose now that we've finally had a freeze, but before I worm again I think I'll do the testing.

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  20. It is so useful to me to read a post like this and see all the other ways of doing something like worming. I know my horse guy Bill rotates the womers he uses but he does it regularly. i might suggest that we have a few scoops of poop tested. Once he wormed the horses with a different womer and one of the horses colicked. Boy was Bill mad. Some people dpn't cry and sob wjen they are upset, they get mad instead. so Bill was swearing up a blue streak that afternoon. Luckily the horse was fine.
    I also give my horse treats. She has to earn them but I think a treat can be a useful tool, absolutely. If she we mouthy about it, I'd probably cease ans desist though!

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  21. Kate, I do a rotational deworming, 4 times a year, with paste dewormers. Last winter I had a fecal count done, and the tech told me it was negative, in that there were no adult worms detected. The vet recommended a Pancur powerpack and a digestive supplement (Fastrack) to help with a long bout of runny stools. Both helped Buckshot a lot. I asked the vet about dewormers in general and he suggested rotational. I have continued to do a dewormer (alternating the type) about every four months. The barn he is at does very good manure management, also. About the hand feeding of treats, I use it very beneficially with my horse, as a thank you after a ride, with clicker training or after a procedure (like getting him to stand still for something in particular), and sometimes, just because I love him!

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  22. Over the years, as the vets decreased what they told us the horse "HAD TO HAVE" for shots, I hoped the worming would follow. Being a boarder, I have been at the hands of what the owners said -had to happen.

    When my new PBO's told me that we'd do a fecal, and then see what the mare needed, I was so pleasantely surprised!
    Having been away from forced shots and worming scheds for the past year and a half. WHEW..someone is finally thinking about the animals!

    I was in the feed store last week, and someone reading the wormer boxes, asked my opinion on what she should use...I just had to be plain and tell her about the science the vets are using now- to not overmedicate the horses and to create a healthier environmet in the gut.
    She put down the wormer box( of random choosing) and said.."poo to the vet tomorrow"(my words) but I felt good about it all!

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