Worming the Horse

Worming is a vital part of equine management in order to prevent ill health. There are a number of main internal parasites which can affect horses and ponies including; redworm, roundworm, tapeworm, pinworm and botfly larvae to name the most common. There are two main options regarding worming programmes: regular dosing, or targeted strategic worming using faecal egg counts. Lets take a look in Equine Management’s latest blog allowing retailers to best advise their customers.

Worming Programmes

1.) Regular Dosing

  • Regular dosing suits large groups of horses that are wormed at the same time, such as at livery yard, and controls specific worms at key times of the year – ensure you follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions.
  • Many experts advise using a wormer with the same active ingredient throughout the grazing season (April – September), changing to another wormer with a different active ingredient the following year – this is to avoid resistance. An example would be to use an Ivermectin wormer one year and a Pyrantel wormer the next.
  • In addition, within a regular dosing programme, strategic treatments to control encysted small redworms, tapeworms and bots should be given if these parasites are not covered by products given as routine treatments.
  • Tapeworm should be treated in October and in the Spring.
  • Encysted small redworms are usually treated from November – January: either with a five day course of fenbendazole or a single dose of moxidectin – the latter treat bots as well, so if a five day course of fenbendazole is chosen, you will need to additionally target bots from November to January with a macrocyclic lactone-based product, ie ivermectin or moxidectin, given at the appropriate dosing interval.

2.) Targeted Strategic Worming

Targeted strategic worming involves regularly sending a faecal sample for analysis to count the number of adult eggs per gram (epg) – however, the tests do not detect the immature, non egg-laying stages of worms, so in cases where horses may be infected, an annual dose of a larvicidal wormer may still be recommend by your vet even if the tests are clear. It is also possible to have tapeworm antibody blood test taken – ask your vet for advice.

Top Tips from Equine Management for Worming and Worming Related Healthcare

1.) Stable new arrivals – never let a new horse graze in a field used by other equines until a full course of worming treatment has been completed.

2.) Dose according to body weight. Weigh your horse using scales or a weigh tape and read the manufacturer’s recommendations closely before dosing.

3.) Synchronise worming – make sure all the horses on the premises are following the same worm control programme and are wormed on the same day.

4.) Understand seasonal risks – make sure you know what times of year your horse is at the highest risk of infestation, from the different worms. Knowing this allows you to use a targeted wormer at the right time of the year.

5.) Keep records – maintaining accurate notes about your worming procedures will help you remember which system was most effective and when you should change your wormer to help reduce the likelihood of wormer resistance.

6.) Rotate the type of wormer – rotate the summer grazing wormer so you are using a product with a different active ingredient on a yearly basis. This will help prevent worms becoming resistant to wormers.

7.) Get a faecal egg count – this is a valuable and underutilised tool, which allows horse owners to monitor worm load and could help in identifying the most appropriate worming programme for your yard.

8.) Look after pregnant mares and young stock – mares must be wormed on a regular basis, especially in the weeks prior to due date. This will prevent the vulnerable foal picking up larvae in the pasture. Foals should be wormed as soon as they are weaned. However take extra care, particularly with dosages, when worming young stock for the first time.

9.) Manage your pasture – good pasture management is vital. Regularly removing manure from your horse’s field will greatly reduce the chance of contracting and/or spreading worms. Activities such as harrowing, rotating and/or resting pasture will also help.

Worming Safely with Wormabit

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Worming can be a stressful process for some horses so why not stock Wormabit the innovative way to help your customers worm their horses in a hassle free way?

Wormabit is a durable, washable, nylon bit fitted to adjustable webbing straps, complete with a quick release buckle for safety. The bit-like mouth piece is placed in the horse’s mouth, as with a conventional bit, and once in place the syringe is inserted in to the open end of the mouth piece. With one smooth action the full dose is delivered to the horse without the usual mess and fuss.

Not only does Wormabit make worming easier and safer, but most importantly, it relieves the stress for the horse. The syringe never has to enter the horse’s mouth – just the nylon bit, which does not feel alien to the animal. The result is a much calmer horse and a much more relaxed handler.

To find out how to stock this product in your retail store visit the website www.equineman.com or Tel: 01825 840 002.

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