FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY SHOULD I GET A FECAL EGG COUNT (FEC) DONE ON MY HORSE?
Conducting a FEC or better yet, a Fecal Egg Count Resistance Test (FECRT) will help you because;
Your horse many not need to be dewormed often (low shedders only need to be dewormed twice a year) which saves you money!
By testing your horse before deworming you are not adding to parasite resistance on your farm
“Think about it this way: You would never randomly use an antibiotic to treat a suspected infection. It wastes money, it wastes therapeutic time just when speed is of the essence and it increases the risk for developing resistant pathogens. That same school of thought must now be applied to equine dewormers.”
– Frank Hurtig, DVM, MBA, director, Merial Large Animal Veterinary Services
WAIT, WHAT IS A FECAL EGG COUNT RESISTANCE TEST (FECRT)?
Administering a dewormer does not guarantee that animal has been dewormed, therefore it is important to periodically check and see if the drug you are using is working in your horse. Faultless Fecal Egg Counts does this by conducting two separate FECs before and after administering a dewormer. The time from the deworming to conducting the second test varies with each drug type. More information can be found on out services page.
WHY SHOULD I USE YOUR SERVICE RATHER THAN A MAIL-IN SERVICE?
Research has proven that the accuracy of the test is directly correlated in the manure sample which comes through the lab. If a sample becomes compromised by weather (freezing or heat), sunlight, or isn't stored airtight that results will not be reliable. If the sample isn't refrigerated and analysed within seven days the results will not be reliable. What is the use in spending $30-$45 in a test which may not be an accurate representation of your horses health?
Additionally, in a large lab it's easy for samples to get mixed up or small mistakes to be made. At Faultless Fecal Egg Counts every sample is the most important sample being run that day. We guarantee your test results will be accurate every time.
WHY SHOULDN'T I HAVE MY VET RUN FECS?
Many veterinarians who offer FEC and FECRT are often too busy and/or too understaffed to run the samples themselves. Therefore, many of the samples are boxed up and shipped out to large laboratories in other states. We recommend all fecal samples are run locally within maximum of 7 days of the sample being collected to ensure the most reliable and accurate results.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET MY HORSE TESTED?
Parasites know when weather conditions are ideal to exit the body and have the best chance for survival. Spring and fall are peak seasons but this really depends on the weather. For example a mild and wet winter may lead to a higher likelihood of intestinal parasites whereas a hot dry summer may lead to a significant decrease in eggs. Therefore, regular testing (spring and fall) is suggested.
WHAT ARE YOU TESTING FOR?
Most of the parasite eggs seen on a fecal exam come from one of many small strongyle species–collectively known as cyathostomins. Cyathostomins are ubiquitous parasites of grazing horses, and are currently considered one the most significant pathogenic internal parasites in horses. Parascaris equorum commonly known as roundworm, or ascarids also constitutes a major threat to equine health. Unlike small strongyles, ascarids are found most commonly in foals and younger horses.
Per the Modified McMaster protocol, which Faultless Fecal Egg Counts currently uses, other internal parasites (Tapeworm, Pinworm) may be noted on your results but are not counted in the final results.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TAKE A SAMPLE AFTER DEWORMING?
The Egg Reappearance Period (ERP) is the time interval between the last effective anthelmintic treatment and the reappearance of eggs due to re-infection.
Moxidectin: 10 – 12 wks
Ivermectin: 6 – 8 wks
Pyrantel pamoate: 4 – 5 wks
Fenbendazole: 4 – 5 wks
Avoid administering any dewormer more frequently than its ERP. Younger horses tend to have shorter ERP than older horses.
ARE THERE ANY PARASITES THAT CANNOT BE FOUND IN A FEC?
Although not as prevalent as strongyles, roundworms, or tapeworms, there are other equine parasites that are important to recognize and combat. The lesser known intruders (bots, lung worm, stomach worm) cannot be identified via fecal flotation (because they don't float!) but may equally impact your horse’s health.
WHAT IS THE TESTING PROCEDURE?
Currently, the most widely used and accepted practice of conducting FEC and FECRT is the McMaster method.
Faultless Fecal Egg Counts recognizes that there is confusion around the sensitivity of the modified McMaster method and the need for centrifugation. In companion animals like dogs and cats a centrifuge is necessary in the testing process because the presence of one parasite egg is enough to warrant treatment.
However, grazing animals such as horses are different. It is recommended that only horses with egg counts over 200 eggs per gram (EPG) be dewormed. Centrifugal flotation techniques will identify EPGs as low as one, whereas the McMaster method will identify EPGs as low as 25. This is a minute difference when you look at the big picture. Would you treat a horse with an egg count of 1 any differently than a horse with an egg count of 25? The leaders in equine parasitology agree that the modified McMaster method is more than sufficient since treatment is not necessary when egg counts are less than 200.
WHAT ABOUT ENCYSTED STRONGYLES?
If an effective control program is in place, encysted cyathostomes should never be a major target of control efforts. Encysted cyathostomes only become an issue when large numbers build up after failed control efforts or some rare environmental conditions where large numbers of larvae are present.
Dr. Craig Reinemeyer, President, East Tennessee Clinical Research, Inc. says “I’m frequently asked when one should incorporate a treatment for encysted larvae in the course of an annual program. My answer is “never”; you shouldn’t need to.”
Larval cyathostomiasis is a management problem. If it’s a herd issue, it’s associated with mild, wet environmental conditions, over-stocking, failed control measures, and managerial deficits. If an individual horse develops it, chances are that animal has a unique susceptibility that is genetically determined.
Understanding the life-cycle of small strongyles is the first step to intervention. By combining good pasture management with a strategic deworming program, small strongyles can be controlled effectively. Remember that “control” is the key word, rather than elimination.
DO YOU CONDUCT FECS ON OTHER ANIMALS?
At this time Faultless Fecal Egg Counts only analyses equine fecal samples. If demand warrants we look forward to expanding our offerings.