The fecal egg count exam (FEC) is an important tool veterinarians use to review parasitic infections in horses. A fecal egg count exam is a simple, fairly inexpensive test that provides information about a horse's health and a deworming program's effectiveness.
When a veterinarian performs a fecal egg count (FEC) exam, they look at how many parasite eggs are present in each gram of manure tested, yielding a result called "eggs per gram" or EPG.
Veterinarians look at an individual horse's EPG counts. Traditionally a horse with an EPG value of 200 to 500 would be considered a candidate for treatment (this range can vary).
Veterinarians use the FEC and other factors to develop optimum parasite treatment plans - deworming only when needed, with effective deworming products. Some horses may require as few as two dewormings a year, some six or more. Appropriate deworming products to use may vary from horse to horse and farm to farm.
There are limitations of the FEC; certain types of parasite infections result in little to no effect on FEC, e.g. tapeworms. Additionally, seasonal patterns affect egg shedding and hence EPG counts. Your veterinarian will take these into account.
Parasitologist's believe maintaining parasite burdens at a low level, rather than eliminating parasites entirely, helps avoids over-treatment, limits the cost of parasite control, and positively impacts a horse's immune system.
Work with your Veterinarian to develop the best deworming plans for each of your Horses.