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Worming Advice

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.

  1. Testing & Targeted treatment
  2. Pasture Management
Testing & Targeted Treatment
  • Test before you treat
    • Faecal worm egg counts: Do this in Spring, Summer and Autumn to identify which horses may need treating Generally horses over 200 epg will need treating
    • Test for tapeworm burdens with a saliva test (Equisal)
  • Target the right worm at the right time of year

 

WORMING TREATMENT BY SEASON  
Winter
Worm for possible encysted Redworms
Spring
Worm Egg Count for Redworm & Ascarids Saliva Test for Tapeworm
Summer
Worm Egg Count for Redworm & Ascarids
Autumn
Worm Egg Count for Redworm & Ascarids Saliva Test for Tapeworm

 

  • Worm all horses with the same product at the same time. Pay special attention to young horses and foals who may potentially have high parasite burdens
  • Change the active ingredient in your wormer every year
  • 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.  Most worming products use weight scales to determine the dosage.  Use a weigh tape to accurately weight your horse

Pasture Management

  • 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

Equine Health Direct is happy to announce that in conjunction with Westgate Laboratories we are selling Faecal Worm Egg Count Kits. This allows you to send your horse’s faecal sample to be tested at the laboratory with the results being sent to us here at Equine Health Direct.  We can then call and advise you if your horse requires treatment and what is the most appropriate treatment.

In addition we are proud to be working with and promoting the Equisal Tapeworm Saliva Test; a unique test developed to detect tapeworm burdens in horses through a simple saliva test.  The kit provides all the instructions for customers to perform the straight forward easy-to-use test on their own horse and send to the laboratory in a pre-paid envelope.  Your horse’s results will be sent to Equine Health Direct and our veterinary surgeon will call you directly to discuss the results and discuss whether your horse requires treatment and what is the most appropriate treatment.

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.