How often should a fecal test be done on a healthy horse?

A.  This depends on the age and condition of the horse as well as prior fecal results.  Older horses generally have fewer issues due to a natural worm resistance that has developed over time.  Young horses, especially those under three years of age, need more frequent testing.  As a rule of thumb, many equine veterinarian suggest fecals be done at least four times a year for adult horses.  If a horse is under three years of age, every other month is best.  This schedule should be followed until there are few to no parasites seen on a few consecutive samples.  Then the time between samples can be increased.

When will I receive my results?

A.  We test all specimens that arrive that day which means we test every day except Sundays and holidays in which there is no mail delivery.  But to answer your question, we are at the mercy of the US Mail system which, at times, can be very erratic.  We have received samples the day after being mailed and we have also received specimens a week after being mailed.  Long delays do not jeopardize the integrity of the fecal egg count but we do understand the wait can be very frustrating.

Understanding Equine Parasites – Strongyles

This is the most common type of egg found in the fecal sample.  There are two main types, “large” and “small”.  All Strongyles start out as eggs scattered throughout the environment (feces, soil, etc.) which hatch into larvae that are consumed by horses as they graze or drink infected water. The larvae mature in the intestinal tract.  The “large” Strongyles migrate into either the blood vessels of the intestines or migrate into the liver.  “Small” Strongyles stay within the intestines and burrow (encyst) within the wall of the large intestine. Here they can stay for months or years before the proper conditions trigger them to emerge.  While Strongyles are in this stage, they are not shedding eggs and are not impacted by dewormers but are doing the most damage to the horse.  The “large” Strongyles can cause severe or even fatal colic or blood vessel ruptures as well as weight loss, anemia or colic and the encysted “small” Strongyles can severely damage the walls of the intestines.

Sooner or later, all Strongyles migrate back to the intestines and adhere to the inner walls.  This is when the worms are the least damaging to the horse.  This is also when the worms shed their eggs which we find in their feces.  All Strongyle eggs look exactly alike, so the parasitologist cannot distinguish a “small” Strongyle from a “large” Strongyle egg.

Janice W. Client Comment

I received the report two days after submitting my horse’s sample.  The report was easy to understand.  Great service.

JC Dyson Client Comment

Fast results convenient and affordable!!! Thank you Parascreen.