Why should you deworm?
The Importance of a deworming protocol for your horses’ health. A high worm burden can lead to weight loss, poor hair coat, diarrhea, and even colic. Horses in the wild travel all the time. Therefore they are not spending a lot of time in the same area. The way we keep horses domestically today is very different. Since they stay in the same pasture most of the time, this allows worm eggs to be deposited in the soil, and picked back up by the horses as they graze. This makes a regular deworming necessary for our domestic horses.
When should you deworm?
The typical protocol is to deworm twice per year. Once in spring, after the weather has warmed up a bit, and worms have had a chance to propagate. And again in the fall, usually just after the first frost of the season. This will help decrease the amount of transmission the following grazing season. Please check with us for specific advice about foals.
What product should you choose?
The biggest concern for spring is Strongyles, so choose a product that is effective against those types of worms. Products containing Ivermectin, Moxidectin, or Pyrantel such as Eqvalan. In the fall, choose a product that also targets tapeworms and bots, something that contains Praziquantel such as Eqvalan Gold. Please check with us for specific advice about foals.
A note about resistance:
The veterinary community has noticed a lot of resistance in the past several years due to the overuse of certain products. It is very important that we make sure we are not over-treating.
When in doubt-fecal it out!
The BEST practice for deworming is to have fecal egg quantifications done, so we can target what types of worms we have, and if we should be treating at all. Horses with low worm burdens should not be dewormed at that time, to avoid creating resistance. It is also good to re-check a fecal sample a few months after deworming, to see if it should be repeated. Horses with high worm burdens may require an additional treatment, but we don’t know that unless we go looking!
Also, take care of that pasture!
In addition to using a commercially available dewormer, it is important to have proper pasture management. Removing manure, and rotating horses to different pastures will help to lower worm counts in the soil. Also make sure to not overstock your pastures, the rule of thumb is one horse per acre of grazing area, so plan accordingly!