Worming. It’s one of the first things that you will learn about when you get involved with horse ownership. And you will also learn that everybody is an expert. But what is the best horse wormer for spring? We at the horse dispatch breakdown what you need to know and get you ready for spring worming.
Best Horse Wormer For Spring
If you are in a hurry and already know all about worming and what you need to do we have a quick chart here to answer the question of what is the best horse wormer for spring. Have a quick look and then get what you need.
If you need a little more information about each wormer and worming in general check out the information provided below the chart.
How Do Horses Get Worms?
A horse gets worms from something that they are eating. Unfortunately, horses aren’t the cleanest eaters, they will urinate, poop, lie down in and roll in their food. They will also end up eating poop in their hay. The worms are in the poop and then get into the digestive tract of the horse that is eating it.
Usually, this happens because horses are put in pens with other horses that already have worms, or they get put into a pen that used to have a horse in it that had worms. Pastures become contaminated with the eggs and larvae or parasitic worms through the manure of an infected horse. As your horse grazes, the eggs and larvae are ingested. A pasture can stay infected for a long time, so you need to be aware.
A rule of thumb is just to assume that all horses have worms, and to make sure that your horse is on an adequate worming program.
What parasites can affect a horse?
The four most common types of internal parasites are Strongyles, Ascarids, Tapeworms and Bots. Each species of parasite affects a horse in its own way.
- Strongyles (Red Worms or Blood Worms)
- Strongyle infection occurs by the ingestion of the larvae, which begin their transformation into parasites as they travel down the horse’s intestine. There are three different kinds.
- S. vulgaris (up to 25mm),
- This worm can damage the cranial mesenteric artery, eventually causing colic, gangrenous enteritis, or intestinal stasis and possibly rupture.
- S. edentatus (up to 40mm)
- S. equinus (up to 50mm).
- These other two types are active blood feeders that can lead to anemia, weakness, emaciation and diarrhea.
- Ascarids (roundworms)
- If you have a young horse and this spring you are looking to get it wormed this is the type of worm that you need to target. Younger horses usually have less immunization against roundworms and can be an issue.
- This worm affects the throat, the intestine and the liver. It travels and gets swallowed again and reproduces. Horses can withstand small amounts but as it grows it will affect your horse’s weight, shine and energy. It can also cause colic.
- TapewormsTapeworms take a different approach to infecting your horse. Forage mites in the grass eat tapeworm eggs; the tapeworm larvae then develop within the mites. The horse ingests the forage mites during grazing. Now that the larvae are in the horse’s gut they can develop into maturity. They adhere to the gut wall at the ileocaecal junction, thusly increases the risk of intestinal obstruction or rupture due to inflammation at the attached site.
- BotsAdult flies lay yellow-coloured eggs to the horse’s forelegs, chest and shoulders. As the horse grooms itself, the horse’s saliva releases the egg adhesive and the larvae then enter the mouth. Once ingested, the larvae travel and attach to the lining of the stomach when it causes irritation, digestive issues and obstruction. After 8-10 months, the larvae are passed in the feces and then burrow into the ground to pupate. They surface from the ground as adult flies and repeat the cycle.
How do I know if a horse has worms?
While a horse may appear to be in good health, it still can be infected with worms. Common signs of parasite infection in both younger and older horses include:
- Loss of weight
- Loss of condition
- Lack of appetite
- Dull coat
The best method for confirming whether or not a horse has worms is to have your vet perform a fecal egg count and blood test. These tests confirm the species of parasite; provide an idea of how many adult worms are in the intestine, and give an estimate on how badly your pasture is infested. The blood test measures chemicals in the blood produced by inflammatory responses to the migration of the larvae.
Is there a way to manage worms?
There are generally three steps for effective parasite control. Always refer to a vet for the most effective program for your particular horse.
- Managing the pastures – Decrease the number of ineffective eggs and larvae from the pasture.
- Remove and dispose of feces in the pasture. While time-consuming and not always an easy option, doing so at least twice a week will still be effective in reducing the population of eggs and larvae. Also, mowing and harrowing the pasture exposes the larvae to predators and the elements and helps to decrease the population.
- Pasture rotation
- If possible, rest the pasture for at least six months
- Keep the number of horses per acre to a minimum
- Supply hay and/or grain in a rack rather than feeding on the ground
- Monitoring fecal egg counts – Help diagnoses the parasites as well as determine the effectiveness of your worming program.
- Worm your horse – Giving a horse a dewormer helps remove adult worms from the intestine and reduces the chance of re-infection by decreasing the number of ineffective larvae in the feces and, in turn, the pasture.