The Stable Secretary Blog
What is the best strategy to keep your horses worm-free?
|I received a wide range of responses when I asked some Stable Secretary users how they deworm their horses. Many barns deworm all of their horses every 6 to 8 weeks, rotating between different dewormer medications each time. It is common for people on the show circuit give a Panacur Power Pak to horses that look a little questionable (not shiny enough, not fat enough, etc). Some users have their veterinarian test a fecal sample from each horse for worms every 3 months, and then they treat any infected horses with the targeted deworming medication. A few people add deworming powder medication to their horses’ daily feed to try to prevent worm infestations; others add garlic to the daily feed to control flies and worms. Everyone seems to do it differently – what is the right way?
Keep your horses healthy and shiny!
Even though I’ve worked in barns for many years, I didn’t feel like I really knew much about worms and proper deworming practices. I decided it was time for me to get some facts about this (gross) issue.
“Parasitism” is the most common equine disease.
The susceptibility of any horse to worms depends on its age, location, and stress level, as well as the time of year, and the condition of its pasture.
Horses typically become infected with worms when they have been in contact with an infected horse, or have grazed in a contaminated pasture or paddock.
The four most common types of internal parasites are Strongyles, Ascarids, Tapeworms and Bots. Each parasite needs a specific type of deworming medication to terminate it.
Some parasites have built up a resistance against some of the more commonly-used medications, so those medications are no longer very effective.
It is advised to deworm often enough to keep your horses healthy, but not unnecessarily often which would increase the likelihood of resistance developing.
Through a little bit of (disgusting) research about worms and horses, I learned that:
I recommend the following deworming strategies:
Seek your veterinarian’s advice to create a deworming program that is tailored to your horses. This should take into account the age and condition of your horses, your location, and the time of year.
Clean your paddocks and pastures frequently. Internal parasites spread primarily through manure, so muck out your turnout areas at least twice a week.
If you choose to administer deworming medication based on a predetermined schedule (rather than based on results of a fecal test), use deworming medication that is specific to the time of year and to your location. Also, make sure to give your horses the full recommended dosage.
If possible, consider deworming your horses based on individual need. Ask your veterinarian to test fecal samples every 3 months, and then give each horse deworming medication to specifically target any parasites found.
I encourage you to ask your veterinarian for advice on the best way to control worms. Whatever your deworming strategy is, Stable Secretary can help you to keep track of your worming records. Below are some web sites that present a general overview of how to protect your horse from harmful worms:
Please leave a comment below to share your deworming strategy with our readers!
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