There is a common well-believed myth that natural parasite control doesn’t work… One reason most horse owners don’t embrace natural approaches is from fear and chastising from vets and other experts that make remarks such as Dr. Ramey, DVM, who on his website has a lovely blog that has this to share:
If someone has chemophobia, all chemicals are bad. In their thesaurus, the word chemical is a synonym for words like “hazardous,” “toxic,” or “artificial.” As such, since a dewormer is a chemical, it’s also bad: bad for people, horses, the environment, and bad for just about anything else that comes to mind (including parasites, too, I suppose). While a chemophobe may love his or her horse enough to try to control parasites, he or she also wants to keep from chemical exposure, too (never mind if the chemicals are safe and do their job).
Yet, directly after this statement, the website has this note for the reader:
NOTE: Dewormers are almost incredibly safe and non-toxic: to horses. For parasites, well, that’s another thing entirely.
We appreciate the honesty in the “almost” being accurately added to the above statement. The blog then goes on to educate that naturally, you will be unable to kill and completely rid your horse of parasites. This again goes back to the annihilation concept, and the failure to see that nature has a purpose and intention for the parasite.
The goal of natural parasite control is to implement a plan to promote an environment that decreases the threat of parasite imbalance, both within the horse itself and the area in which the horse lives. It’s NOT a guarantee or continuous treatment of a problem that may or may not exist. If at some point your horse needs a chemical parasite treatment, you do it with the understanding of the risks, and also being prepared to support the digestive system and the body’s cleansing and detoxing systems with the support they need to both clear the negative effects of the chemical dewormer and the deceased parasites as well.
The reality is there are many equine caregivers successfully implementing natural, safe, and effective parasite control programs!
Master Core Wellness Coach, Angie Wells shares a glimpse inside her herd as a case study example of natural parasite control in action. It has been over a decade since Angie has utilized a chemical deworming product for her horses.
By focusing on health and maintaining a naturally based parasite control cycle she has successfully managed her horses' parasites for many years. Her horses have a combination of dry lot paddock care and free-range grazing in a 4-acre pasture that receives annual ground maintenance (dragging and burning) to control the external environment. When the horses are dry lot kept, the pens are cleaned weekly to remove excess manure.
Fecal counts were performed following the lunar cycle, and natural parasite control supplement options were given for 14 days following the lunar cycle as well. Natural parasite control supplementation is utilized for all horses in Angie’s herd when she is implementing her natural parasite control program.
Fecal Egg Count Results of Horse #1 - Lonan - last chemical dewormer was administered by the BLM when Lonan was at a holding facility on 06/17/2016.
Fecal Egg Count Results of Horse #2 - Marshal - last chemical dewormer was administered by the BLM when Marshal was at a holding facility on 07/01/2016.
Fecal Egg Count Results of Horse #3 - Peppy - last chemical dewormer would have been administered by the previous owner sometime prior to 07/08/2014.
The desired outcome of a parasite control program is to maintain an internal environment in which parasites will not thrive. To achieve this result Angie implements a control program regardless of fecal test results. Recently one of her older horses', Peppy, came back with a low positive fecal count.
She saw this as an opportunity to share the results and effectiveness of the natural parasite control plan as a means of treatment in some cases as well.
The initial fecal samples were sent in during the last week of April to align with the New Moon Cycle, this is believed to be the best time to run fecal egg counts based on the life/breeding cycle of the parasites.
An unexpected shipment delay of the natural parasite control supplement Angie had planned to use shifted the starting day, so she started all 3 of her horses on her selected parasite control option on June 7th continuing through until June 21st.
Life happened... and she missed the opportune time to retest the fecal egg counts in June for Peppy… so she collected and sent them at the end of July to remain within the lunar cycle. No additional parasite control supplementation was given prior to test results being sent in.
Fecal Egg Count Results of Peppy After 14-Day Natural Parasite Control Protocol