Managemental / Pasture Hygiene
The easiest way to implement this strategy in horses is to prevent horses having contact with contaminated pasture or feed
Stabled horses are separated from their own faeces several times daily, do not eat contaminated food and will not come into contact with the droppings of other horses. Therefore, under these situations, the parasite is unable to complete its lifecycle. Horses that graze pasture are likely to encounter many infective parasite larvae which they will inadvertently ingest as they graze. All of the following factors will increase the daily infective dose that a grazing horse ingests:
- High stocking density
- Heavily grazed pasture
- Use of the same pasture by multiple horses
- Presence of horses with high faecal egg counts
- Presence of young horses (which tend to be more heavily infected)
- Warm, damp weather
Managemental control measures decrease the force of infection by minimising pasture contamination. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Regular removal of droppings from the pasture. Twice weekly is the suggested frequency. Scientific studies have demonstrated that this is an extremely effective method of suppressing faecal egg counts in grazing horses. A disadvantage is that it is labour-intensive
- Rotation of pasture. This allows infective eggs and larvae on “resting” pasture to die before they can infect another horse. A minimum rest period of three months is recommended
- Mixed species grazing. Cattle and sheep will act as “biological vacuum cleaners,” eating eggs and larvae which can not survive in species other than the horse.
Do not over-stock pasture. Ideally, fields should contain no more than one or two horses per acre. Increasing this number, leads to horses grazing closer to dung piles and to close-cropped grass.