Be A Smart Consumer

The statement ”you get what you pay for” is usually true – but you may not realize what you are paying for. Next time you’re in a tack store, look at the dewormers. Side by side you’ll likely see a small, plain white syringe inside a cellophane wrapper, price about $8, and a large, brightly colored box with a pretty horse on it, in a display claiming it contains the most effective dewormer known, price $12.75. Which do you buy’ The answer lies in the active ingredients.

You’ll find a long list of brand names in our deworming article this month. You’ll also find that, despite the different brand names, many of them contain exactly the same drug in exactly the same concentration. The difference in price is for packaging and advertising.

Equine dewormer manufacturers don’t have the same astronomical overhead/promotional expenses as human drugs, which are pushed on prime-time TV ads and hustled door-to-door by drug reps visiting doctors’ offices. However, those full-color, full-page, glossy ads in your other horse magazines aren’t cheap either. There’s nothing wrong with an ”only the best for my horse” attitude, but does your horse need a box with a pretty picture or fancy advertising’ Does it really mean anything to know that Oscar and Olive Olympic Rider use a certain product – especially when they probably got it for free’

In the eyes of the FDA, all the new brand-name ivermectin 1.87% pastes are ”generics,” duplicates of the original drug approval for Eqvalan. The same goes for the daily dewormers on the market, which are all generics of the original Strongid C. It doesn’t matter whether they come in a plain bag marked pyrantel tartrate or in a fancy bucket, the drug is the same.We have to admit that when ads for the newer ivermectin brands claim they contain ”the most powerful wormer” they’re telling the truth. They’re just not mentioning that they’re the same as all the other brands containing ivermectin, which happens to be the most powerful dewormer.

Sacrificing quality for economy is not a good idea, and when it comes to dewormers or other over-the-counter drugs your comparison should begin with the product’s list of active ingredients. Forget about the fluff and hype, and don’t bother paying extra for ”apple flavoring” or a fancy container unless you really want it. The drug that’s in there is what really matters to your horse.

-Eleanor Kellon, VMD

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