Confused About Horse Worming?

Without an effective worming regime, horses are more likely to suffer from colic, weight loss and diarrhoea.

Haemorrhage and damage to the blood supply of the intestines can also occur, and some of these conditions can be fatal. Regular appropriate worming is of paramount importance in helping horses to stay healthy. Other measures to reduce horses’ access to worms include regularly collecting faeces from the pasture; feeding hay in the field from racks, rather than the ground to avoid contamination; and not overcrowding pastures.

Regular resting and reseeding of meadows can also be helpful, and rotating fields between different species can cut down on infective levels of larvae on the pasture.

There are many different ways to worm horses effectively and the plethora of products on the market and advice available can make planning a worming regime extremely confusing. Some owners have regular faecal tests done and only worm when evidence of worm eggs or larvae is found in their horses’ dung; however, worms can be present and causing gut damage even when they are not passing detectable eggs in the horse’s faeces.

Others use a worming plan that involves worming all the horses on a premises against the same types of worm with the same product at the time of year when that type of worm is most susceptible. This system can work well, as long as the worms on a particular premises are not resistant to the wormer that is being used; occasional pre – and post -worming faecal worm egg counts can be employed in order to check the efficacy of wormers.

Finally, daily in-feed deworming is available in the USA and can be used with some success. Whichever system is in use, any new horse on to a premises should be isolated, wormed with a broad spectrum wormer, and kept in for 24-48 hours to avoid seeding the pasture with large numbers of worm eggs. Thereafter all horses on the same premises should be wormed together with the same product for the best results (though this can be difficult in multi-owner livery yards).

For horses kept in the UK worming in December/January with a wormer containing a macrocyclic lactone (such as moxidectin) to kill bots and also encysted larval redworms (a five-day course of Panacur Guard can also be used to treat the latter). In March and September a double dose of a tetrahydropyrimidine wormer (for example, Strongid P) should be used to kill tapeworms.

Then from May to September wormers should be used at the intervals recommended by the manufacturers for the treatment of roundworms/redworms picked up from the pasture.

To reduce the potential for the worms on a premises developing resistance to a wormer type, the wormers used can be rotated on a three-year cycle between a benzimidazole, a tetrahydropyrimidine and a macrocyclic lactone; however, since resistance to both of the former groups of wormers can occur, some yards use only the latter group.

In the southern USA, the different weather patterns mean that during the summer, worm eggs and larvae on the pastures are usually killed by the heat, whilst the pastures remain infective for roundworms and redworms well into the winter (when the cold in the north results in the worms hibernating). This means that the above programme needs to be adapted to ensure regular deworming through autumn and Winter in the southern states, but that worming in the summer months is less important in this particular region.

Category: Horse Worming

Will My Horse Get Lungworm If It Grazes With Donkeys?

It is commonly said that horses and donkeys should not be grazed together because of the risk of lungworm causing respiratory disease.The basis to this is that donkeys are relatively resistant to disease due to lungworm, whilst horses are much more susceptible, and donkeys (and tapirs) can pass worms to horses whilst appearing healthy themselves.

This means that horses grazed with donkeys, or on pasture used by donkeys within the previous year or so, may be exposed to lungworm (even if the donkeys appeared healthy), with consequent development of a cough, nasal discharge and increased effort of breathing. However, lungworm is relatively easy to prevent with anthelmintics, and any wormer

containing a macrocyclic lactone (for example, ivermectin/ moxidectin) is normally effective. Regular worming of donkeys and horses therefore obviates the need for concern, and allows donkeys and horses to be co-grazed safely. lf lungworm is suspected as a cause of respiratory disease it can be confirmed following examination of dung samples (the infective larvae are passed in faeces), or it may be picked up on examination of fluid sampled from the lungs.

Category: Horse Health

Struggling To Get Weight on Your Horse?

A whole range of factors can be involved in causing weight loss or poor weight gain. Age is often a factor, but even in young horses low bodyweight can be associated with insufficient feeding, poor teeth, digestive disorders, worms, liver, kidney or heart disease, some types of cancer, and, in fact, almost any disease.

Where affected horses are apparently healthy, the first step is to make sure that the horse’s general management is up to scratch: make sure he is wormed up to date; fed sufficiently and appropriately for his type and his exercise regime; and get his teeth checked. Rugging him up to help him conserve heat and therefore energy may also be advisable. Objective monitoring of weight with regular monthly weight-taping allows an assessment of whether a thin horse is gaining or losing weight.

Those horses that seem unwell, are lethargic, or don’t respond to initial management changes, should, however, be investigated further. A thorough clinical examination may exclude a number of types of disease, or it may indicate an area that needs even further assessment. Also, faecal tests can enable the identification of any parasites present and some digestive disorders, and blood tests to check liver, kidney, muscle and digestive function can also be very helpful.

Category: Horse Care