The importance of worming your horse
Did you know that there are many types of worm that can infect your horse? These worms can cause a varying degree of damage depending on the type of worm, the number of worms present and the health status of the horse at the time.
Small Redworms are the most common internal parasite of the horse and account for at least 90% of the horse’s worm burden. These worms have the ability to hibernate and become encysted in the gut wall. At this stage the worms become more problematic as there are only a few wormers that will kill them at this stage. The emergence of large numbers of these larvae all at the same time (usually during the late winter) can cause huge damage to the gut lining, potentially causing loss of condition, diarrhoea, colic and sometimes in the more severe cases even death. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to treat for specific worms at specific times of year with the correct wormer to deal with the parasite.
There are only two wormers available that treat encysted redworm. They are called Equest and Panacur Equine Guard. The Equest is a syringe where only a single dose is required and the Panacur is a liquid that needs to be administered at the correct dose every day for 5 days. The Equest Syringe will also cover roundworms for up to 13 weeks making it the more popular choice for most.
A similar product called Equest Pramox will cover everything that Equest does along with an added ingredient to kill tapeworm. This should generally be used twice a year - in the Spring and again in the Autumn. There are also combination wormers made up of Ivermectin and Praziquantel which will do roundworm and tapeworm, commonly these are Equimax and Eqvalan Duo.
Ivermectin wormers such as Eqvalan, Bimectin and Eraquell are ideal as a summer or winter treatment. They should last 8-10 weeks between having to retreat. There are wormers that also treat tapeworm by giving the horse double the normal rate. The chemical in these wormers is called pyrantel embonate. On our site these are Pyratape P and Embotape. However these have a treatment interval of roughly 6-8 weeks.
Effective worm control aims to prevent worms from completing their lifecycle and thus prevent further contamination. Worming programmes have evolved over the years and as opposed to the routine of the blanket use of wormers it is now recommended to minimise the risk of worm resistance that a targeted approach to worming is considered. This involves the use of Worm Egg Counts to identify horses with high worm burdens. Horses with a WEC of more than 200epg (eggs per gram) should be treated with an appropriate wormer. Those with lower do not require treatment. Another way to make a major contribution to effective worm control is to have a pasture management procedure in place.
Here at Petsense Direct we can help with finding the appropriate wormer and we can also supply the Worm Egg Count Kit so that you can accurately determine the best possible worm control for your horse.