Whether owners keep several horses at home or have a single horse atlivery, the basic message remains the same: every horse should follow acarefully planned worming programme, coordinated with the other horsesand ponies on the yard, to help him stay good health all year round
“The introduction of diagnostic techniques, such as faecal egg counts (FECs), has led to a change in worming protocols,” says Ben Gaskell, veterinary advisor at Pfizer Animal Health.
“We now have the flexibility to be much more targeted with our worming regimes, rather than using the old ‘catch all’ approach, which was leading to over-use of wormers and the appearance of wormer resistance.”
The new protocol can still be confusing for some horse owners to get to grips with, so Ben has put together 10 top tips to help make it easy for you to get your worming right all year round.
- Understand your enemies – familiarise yourself with the main types of worms affecting horses.
- Understand your weapons – understand the different ingredients in each type of wormer and the worms they can treat.
- Worm only when required – use faecal egg counts (FECs) to avoid over-worming.
- Use these diagnostics on a regular basis to build a picture of your horse’s worm burden and devise a worming programme.
- Routinely (for example, annually) change the class of wormer that you use to help slow resistance developing to the active ingredients.
- Worm every horse on the yard at the same time to help prevent any cross-infection and reduce overall pasture contamination.
- ‘Quarantine’ worm new horses before they mix with your existing animals – don’t introduce high worm numbers or resistant worms.
- Don’t overstock paddocks and do rest them wherever possible to let the parasites numbers decrease.
- Grazing with sheep or cattle on the same pasture is an excellent way to reduce the worm population as they will ‘hoover up’ horse worm larvae but remain unaffected.
- Collect and dispose of dung from the field promptly, preferably every day, but at least every week, as this will significantly reduce the number of worm larvae remaining on the pasture.
Strongid-P’s Love Your Horse leaflets will be available free of charge from tack shops, saddler or feed merchant.