Horse Wormers and Endoparasites
Horse Wormers: why you need to use them?
Horses suffering from worms will experience a variety of health issues including weight loss, lethargy and colic. They may also succumb to serious diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract. It is vital that you undertake the appropriate worming programme which includes good husbandry, regular checks and the administering of equine wormers.
Equine Wormers and Worm Resistance
Worms can result in horses suffering from a number of health issues including colic, lethargy, weight loss and serious diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract. It is very important that you conduct an effective worming programme. However, take care not to overuse anthelmintics, the drugs used to control worms, as the parasites can become resistant to them. Be aware that there are several types of worms which can infest horses and so you may require more than one variety of equine wormers to address them.
In order to ensure that worms do not become completely immune to the equine wormers that you use, you need to maintain a refugia. This is a small population of worms which are never exposed to horse wormers. The refugia will dilute the genes of drug resistant worms so that they can be treated. Horses should be wormed only when necessary and you can establish when the time is right by taking worm egg counts (WECs). This is done via a test kit which you can obtain from vets and testing laboratories. Horses with a low worm count should not be treated and every horse should be treated according to its needs – avoid blanket treatments.
There are three worming strategies which you can consider adopting:
With interval dosing specific anthelmintics are administered at set intervals throughout the year. Spring worming targets tapeworms and can then be followed by routine worming in the summer and then tapeworm treatment in the autumn. Bots and encysted small redworms can be addressed in the winter. With this strategy you do cover all bases but could treat your horse unnecessarily and risk resistance.
Strategic dosing is the administering of a broad spectrum of equine wormers at specific times of year. This approach can disrupt the life cycles of the worms. However, problems are possible if unseasonal weather leads to early or late peaks in the number of pasture larvae. This can cause your timing to be out.
Targeted Strategic Dosing
This is now the recommended approach as it tackles the issue of resistance. You should conduct a worm egg count (WEC). If the egg count is greater than 200 epg then treatment with anthelmintics is required. Small, developing redworms will not be detected by a WEC and neither will tapeworms. It is wise to treat your horse in spring and again in November with a broad spectrum anthelmintic which also addresses tapeworms. A tapeworm antibody (Elisa) test could be useful. Conduct egg counts in between these times and use equine wormers if the count exceeds 200 epg. Then you can avoid unnecessary treatments.
The active ingredients in the various available wormers address different parasites. Wormers are grouped as follows:
- Ivermectin kills large redworms, small redworms, pinworms, large roundworms, lungworms, intestinal and neck threadworms and stomach worms. It can also be effective against bots.
- Praziquantel addresses tapeworms.
- Moxidectin kills small redworms including encysted small redworms, large redworms, pinworms, large roundworms, intestinal threadworms, stomach worms and bots.
- Pytantel kills large redworms, small redworms, and pinworms. An elevated dose can be used to kill tapeworms.
- Fenbendozole kills large redworms and small redworms including encysted stages with an elevated dose. Will also kill pinworms, large roundworms and intestinal threadworms at elevated doses.
If you are in any doubt as to how to proceed then consult your vet for guidance.
Testing for Worms
You can use a worm count kit to establish whether or not your horse needs worming. Horses with a low count should not be wormed as it is essential to maintain a refugia. This is a small population of worms which have never been exposed to wormers. Worms can become resistant to the treatments if overexposed.
Good pasture management is essential for worm control. Do not overstock pastures, remove droppings regularly and do not use horse manure as fertiliser unless it has been composted. Rotate horses between paddocks or sections of paddock and harrow rested pasture to bring parasite larvae to the surface where they will dehydrate and die. Allow pasture to rest in the winter when parasites will die off and, if possible, graze sheep or cattle in the pasture to ingest and eliminate larvae to which they are resistant.
The best Horse Worming Strategies
There are three worming strategies which you may adopt. These are interval dosing, strategic dosing and targeted strategic dosing. The latter is now considered to be the best way to tackle the issue of resistance. Here worm counts should be conducted. Horses with counts over 200 epg should be treated. However, developing redworms and tapeworms will not be detected by these tests. You can overcome this problem by treating in spring and November with a broad spectrum anthelmintic which is formulated to address tapeworms. Alternatively a tapeworm antibody Elisa test can be used to detect tapeworms and redworms.
Cheap Horse Wormers online:
At Equi Supermarket we have a comprehensive range of effective worm treatments in the form of oral pastes, oral liquids, oral granules and palatable powders. The Strongid, Equimax, Panacur, Equest and Verm X products contain active ingredients to tackle a variety of worms and parasites. Consult the product descriptions to discover the correct product for your horse’s needs. Providing you horse with a nutritious diet will bolster its immune system and this will help with worm control.
Top tips for horse worm control:
Top tips for horse worm control read here