Dr Karl's Story
"I have had to operate on countless colic’s over the years and nowadays I want to do something different. I want to try and prevent colics and identify any potential risk factors like worms and / or tapeworms that may be managed better in order to prevent some types of colics rather than have to treat them and operate on them in the dead of night and at huge cost and even loss of life. If I can stop just a few colics per year and in this way save a horse life by preventing a serious colic I will have made opening the Worm-Ex Lab meaningful.
I have had my fair share of “Emergency Room or Fire-brigade practice” now I am ready to share evidence based preventative health medicine with you and your regular veterinarian for the benefit of your horses.
My other interest is the outdoors and wildlife with which South Africa is blessed. The similarity between rhinos and horses has always fascinated me. To this end we have been doing parasitological examinations on not only domestic animals but valuable wildlife and looking at the incidence of parasites in wildlife orphanages including elephants and pangolins. Another project has been looked at the prevalence of parasites in wild zebra between the Serengeti, Zimbabwe and Botswana to compare with domesticated horses. I don’t think wildlife parasites should be treated like horse parasites, but as I do safari horse practice in countries like Botswana, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania where the potential interaction between wildlife and horses sharing the same space, this interests and concerns me. We can’t be seen to be putting wildlife at risk from our horses so screening for parasites and contagious diseases is another one of my interests.
Our veterinary practice has been practicing parasitological diagnosis and consultations for over 18 years. In the last 9 years we have examined no less than 32,000 dung samples of horses, farm animals and wildlife. We adopted the Danish Veterinary system early in the life of our lab. We will only sell a dewormer to an owner if evidence of an excessive parasite burden exists. Denmark passed a law that insisted on a diagnosis of worms prior to selling a dewormer as far back as 1999. In effect Denmark passed a law stating that all dewormers would become prescription only medicines and that only if a worm egg count showed the need to deworm could a dewormer be prescribed, dispensed or sold to a client!
Over time the majority of our clients have bought into this system and have seen the benefit thereof. As much as I am aware that my main calling is to look after the welfare of livestock falling under my care I am also acutely aware that the Danish deworming system (which got passed into law by the Netherlands in 2007, Finland in 2008 and Sweden in 2009) is the gold standard for parasite control and that Southern African horse owners should strive to adopt this system too as it is beneficial to both the environment and their horses.
Veterinary medicine has changed vastly over the last 40 years.
We don’t breed mares like we did 40 years ago;
We hopefully don’t treat African Horse Sickness like we did 40 years ago;
We don’t manage sport injuries like we did 40 years ago;
We don’t use Hobday procedures and tracheostomies for “Roarers” like we did 40 years ago!
But why do we still deworm horse by the calendar and to the same recipe we used 40 years ago??!
In all veterinary aspects, other than parasite management, horses have benefited from the progress that is evolving. I want your horses to benefit too from this evidence based service performed by veterinarians with many years of locally acquired experience over Southern and East Africa on parasite control.
With the advent of widespread worm resistance to the commonly used dewormers the term BROAD SPECTRUM DEWORMER is now a myth. We are in real danger of landing up with worms that are multi drug resistant. Just as medical doctors are concerned about antibiotic resistance bringing back old long forgotten diseases into our midst so too we as horse owners need to be concerned about parasites that are flourishing in spite of our efforts at eradicating them.
The minute brain of the parasite is beginning to outsmart the shrewdest horse owner and his veterinarian! Our team will put you, your horses and your regular vet in an informed position to manage the increasing complexity of equine parasites better and cheaper than regular across the board deworming. "