Here at Equine Health Direct we promote responsible targeted worming programmes for our clients horses. The main reason for this is simple: Resistance. For many years we have over used the wormers that are commercially available. As a result, we are starting to see resistance building up in the parasite population. Simply put, this means that the treatments we currently have are, in some cases, not effective at treating the issue and parasites are surviving in our horses despite treatment.
Why do we worm horses?
Heavy worm burdens can cause health issues with your horse depending on what type of worm is affecting them. Clinical signs can include:
- Loose droppings or diarrhoea which can proceed to rapid weight loss, dehydration and death
- Large Roundworm infections can cause coughing, poor growth rate and a dull coat. They can cause a fatal blockage or rupture of the gut
- Large redworm infection can block blood vessels to the intestines
- Pinworm can cause an itchy anus
- Stomach Worm can cause inflammation of the stomach
- Intestinal Threadworm result in diarrhoea, anorexia and dullness as well as a reduced growth rate and loss of weight
- Lungworm infection can cause a persistent cough and increased respiratory rate which may lead to secondary pneumonia
Simple ways in which we can control the parasite burden in our horses.
- Testing & Targeted treatment
- Pasture Management
- Testing & Targeted Treatment
- Test before you treat
- Faecal worm egg counts
- Test for tapeworm burdens with a saliva test
- Target the right worm at the right time of year
- Pay special attention to young horses and foals who may potentially have high parasite burdens
- Manage new arrivals on the yard carefully ensuring they are up to date with their worming history
- Ensure you use the correct dosage for each horse. Consider using a weigh bridge or a weigh tape to accurately weight your horse
- Poo pick your paddocks. This will remove the source of the worms. Ideally poo pick daily or at least twice a week
- Do not over stock your paddocks with horses. 1.5 acres of grazing per horse is the recommended limit
- Try and minimise grazing horses of vastly different ages because generally younger horses will have a higher worm burden
- Ensure new arrivals on the yard are up to date with their worming history, otherwise they will infect your managed paddocks
- Rest your paddocks ideally for a minimum of three months. Harrow the paddocks while they are being rested to expose immature worms to sunlight allowing them to dry out and die
- Ideally graze other animals like sheep or cattle on the paddocks
If you have any questions or queries or would like to discuss developing a worming programme for your horse or yard then please contact us. We are always available and happy to help and advise.