Horse Health Advice on Horse Worming

This article about horse health advice explains how equine wormer can help horses to get rid of intestinal parasites. A common horse health advice question is the always present issue horse worms: every horse should be wormed regularly with an effective antiparasitic treatment.

New! Ask the Vet at any Time!

Why perform regular horse worming?

A scheduled, effective worming program will prevent your horse from intestinal parasitic infestation and defects in the intestinal wall and inner organs caused by migrating larvae and adult worms.

How does a worm enter (invade) the horse's gut?

An adult worm, present in the horse's gut, lays eggs. A lot of them; every day. These eggs mix and excrete in the horse's manure, which usually ends up in a pasture. Larvae hatch out of the worm eggs, trying to expose themselves on grass. Some species occur even in dew drops! The horse ingests them during grazing and once these larvae passed the stomach, they undergo in the intestines several developmental states. Some species' larvae will first hibernate a certain time encysted in the intestinal wall and then continue on their stages of development. Some species migrate through the intestinal wall into different organs, while being in a 2nd larval phases, becoming 3rd stage larvae. Once these migrate back into the gut, they undergo a last change and become adult, mature, ready-to-reproduce worms.

You can imagine, that a horse with a severe larvae infestation will show symptoms of fever, pain, colic, inappetence, diarrhea etc.

What should be on the "to-do-list"?

A good horse health advice is to manage the horse's environment, such as barn, stable and pasture/paddock.
Try to pick horse manure every day. Keep water troughs or buckets clean.

Prevention of worm infestation is an important topic within good horse health care and management:

  • establish a regular horse worming schedule
  • include all horses on the premises
  • know about the grade of infestation by a random worm egg count of each horse's manure, performed by your vet.
  • use effective horse wormers and change products to avoid worms/larvae becoming resistant to a certain product.

How does a horse wormer work?

A horse wormer is usually administered orally to the horse. Mostly it is a paste in a convenient doser. It can also be fed as pellets or in fluid form administered via stomach tube by your vet. Injectable worming drugs are usually not used in horses, as side effects can be severe.

Modern chemical wormers will paralyze rather than kill adult worms, so they will not die and release toxic chemicals which would harm the horse and they are unable to resist being excreted with the manure. Outside its host, an intestinal worm dies.

Natural wormer make a worms environment within the intestines very much uncomfortable. Adult worms cannot bear changes very much, so they are passed with the peristaltic gut movements.

The time between a worming treatment and the reoccurrence of eggs in the manure is called "Egg reappearance period" or ERP. Logically, if the specific ERP of a worming product is being exceeded (if you forget to worm regularly within the recommended time range for the product), the worm egg count will increase and again, more worm eggs will spoil the pasture and grazing and finally the horse will start ingesting increasing numbers of larvae. Ideally consult your vet and work out a decent and effective horse worming plan customized to your individual situation. There are a lot of different de-worming products on the horse health market available.

StrongidC2X Pfizer is promoting a special equine program at the moment: PreventiCare Equine Wellness Program. It is a horse health advice program between you and your vet to improve horse health and performance. Your horse might qualify for this program and you can save a lot of money, if your horse would need colic surgery. Find detailed information on their website via the link above.
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