Deworming & Worms

STEVE: Deworming is something that needs to be done routinely in the horse mainly because as a grazing animal they get constantly bombarded and reinfected with eggs. Basically, intestinal parasites are a real long-term common problem in the horse. One of the bigger problems that we have is resistance to the anthelmintics that we have available to us. So that’s why regular worming is really, really important. I recommend that you worm, at least, four times per year, at least, once every three months or every 90 days. In special cases where your horses are extremely crowded, you have high population and demands, you probably should look at worming every 60 days because the intestinal load on the individuals really affects their growing, their ability to stimulate the feed stuffs available to them and it will certainly affect the ability of the intestinal tract to absorb and provide nutrients for the rest of the system if the worm burden is extremely high in densely populated areas.

ALEX: Do you think in certain areas where people live, that turn out a lot and graze a lot and have a lot of horses they should do fecal tests once a year or twice a year?

STEVE: It would probably be indicated in the real, real highly populated areas for sure. Knowing that you’re going to get infestations of worms, you’re going to need to go ahead and worm no matter what. I utilize a completely rotational system where I primarily use fenbendazole primarily and have an annual of ivermectin, usually in the fall after a freeze so we go ahead and get potential bots once the fly population is gone as well. So overall it’s just something that’s going to be necessary, you’re going to have to do it and having a plan and having it instituted and utilized and be preventatively from the get-go is probably the best policy to have instituted when you have horses and have a high population.

ALEX: What are the consequences of not having a program like that or what does a horse look like that might have some issues like that?

STEVE: Well, besides the obvious fact that they’ll have real, real apparent infections, they won’t do as well, they won’t have good weight, their coat won’t be nearly as healthy as those that are being done, compared to their contemporaries that would be done. You see increased cases of colic, you see increased problems with ulcers. They don’t tend to do as well as far as development. They just don’t do as well, they’re just not as healthy and they’re not as thrifty of animal as one that is getting wormed regularly.

ALEX: So there are some serious side effects. Obviously, we talk about preventative versus restorative medicine. If you don’t do this simple program four times a year, you could have some serious consequences.

STEVE: Oh you could have more than serious consequences you could basically lose your herd, you can lose high end individuals due to worm burden or potentially colic cases. They could expire due to that.