Archive for April 16th, 2009

Wormer

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Intestinal parasites always make for lovely dinner conversation.

When Fudge got to us, he was having some pretty bad diarrhea. After four days of this, we called the vet, who suggested a Power Pak wormer (five days @ 2X dose of fenbendazole). Mind you, this was before we knew about the EPM infection. Wormers stress the horse and the immune system, so giving them should not be taken lightly.

There has been enough anecdotal evidence of ivermectin being linked to worsening of symptoms in EPM horses, that there have been clinical studies on the effects.  The researchers say there is no proof of, and no way to to disprove that ivermectin has any effect on EPM horses.  It is known that ivermectin crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB), but not how it affects the BBB.  The BBB is what keeps S. neurona from entering the central nervous system.

A fecal test is in order for Fudge, to determine whether he really needs to be wormed, and with which drug.  This will probably be a standard for the first year or more, so that we are not taxing his system with unnecessary wormers.  Just as unnecessary drugs are a drag on the immune system, so is a gut full of worms.

EPM really is a series of two steps forward, and one step back.  You try to prevent worsening of the neurological symptoms any way possible, because they slow the progress of the horse.  Each new neurological deficit may be permanent.  With EPM relapse rates cited from 15% to 40%, you become paranoid at slight missteps, and try hard to prevent unnecessary drug protocols.