Why you need to worm your horse: parasitic worms can adversely affect the health and well being of horses and ponies of all ages. Internal parasites damage the gut and other organs and can be responsible for poor body condition, colic and occasional fatalities.
Some horse owners are keen not to administer active ingredients to their horses if the horse’s worm burden does not necessitate.
Tapeworm antibody tests are necessary to determine tapeworm burdens in your horse. A blood sample from your horse is required for this test. Further information regarding these tests is available from your veterinary surgeon.
It is important to worm only when necessary, as using less drugs will slow down the inevitable resistance that develops from overuse of the worming products. Click here for more information or Buy Online or in store.
If using an oral syringe, first identify the correct dose then remove the cap. Guide the syringe into the corner of the horse’s mouth and aim it towards the back of the tongue before administering the wormer. It may be necessary to hold the horse’s head up briefly to ensure that he has swallowed the wormer. If using granules, mix the dose into part of the horse’s ration and tempt him to eat it, using succulents if necessary. Once eaten, the remaining ration can be fed.
Effective pasture management is a major part of worm control. Remove droppings from your pasture regularly - at least twice a week during the grazing season. A 450kg horse produces 5-12 pats or approx 24kg of dung a day, that's around 10 tonnes a year.
Three classes of parasite can affect your horse:
This parasite is potentially the most dangerous internal parasite to horses. The immature stages migrate through the blood vessels supplying the gut. Disruption of the blood supply to the gut as a result of larval damage can cause colic and in rare cases, sudden death.
The most common and numerous of internal parasites. During the winter months some of these worms hibernate deep within the gut wall. The subsequent emergence of these worms in the spring can cause damage to the gut wall leading to loss of condition, diarrhoea, colic and in severe cases death.
The largest internal parasite to affect horses. Mainly found in young horses and foals. Horses develop a natural immunity to this worm by 18 months of age. Symptoms include coughing, poor growth rate and dull coat. The worm’s size can cause a fatal rupture or blockage of the gut. Large roundworms also migrate to the lungs and can cause respiratory problems in foals.
During the first few weeks of life foals are susceptible to this very small worm which can cause severe diarrhoea. Mares should be wormed around the time of foaling and foals may need worming from four weeks old.
The adult worms migrate to the horse’s rectum where they lay their eggs on the skin outside the anus. This causes intense irritation and scratching.
These commonly affect donkeys but can also affect horses, usually when grazing with donkeys. Infected horses show clinical respiratory signs such as persistent coughing.
Found in the large intestine and congregate around the narrow junction of the small and large intestine. Most infections do not necessarily produce obvious signs of ill health; however they can cause digestive disturbances, loss of condition and are strongly associated with colic.
Bot flies are a common irritant to horses at grass. They lay their sticky yellow eggs on the horse’s fore legs and around the head. The horse licks them off the legs and the larvae eventually reach the stomach where they attach to the lining. Large numbers can cause digestive disorders and occasionally perforation of the stomach.
Worming programmes are available for all wormers that we stock.