A significant number of UK horse owners are guilty of guessing the weight of their horse rather than weighing before worming, leaving them in danger of underdosing, says Zoetis.

Weigh tapes, although less accurate than a weighbridge, are a great way to keep tabs on weight.

The British Riding Clubs Horse Health survey, commissioned by Zoetis in 2014, revealed that 44% of the 559 horse owners polled did not weigh their horse before worming.

Under-dosing can cause worms to develop resistance, reducing the effectiveness of the worming product used.

This issue was recently highlighted by case studies from a private yard in Suffolk:

  • Cindy is a 13.1hh Connemara mare in “summer” condition. Her owner was surprised when the weighbridge clocked her at 380kg – 60kg more than expected. Cindy’s owner splits one wormer, designed for dosing a horse up to 600kg in weight, between two similarly sized ponies, which means she has been significantly underdosing.
  • Pop is a 16.1hh Irish sport horse gelding. His owner admitted he is carrying a few surplus pounds, but was shocked when he tipped the scales at 638kg. She had recently wormed him for a weight of 600kg – the maximum weight of the worming syringe she had bought.
  • Dec is a 16.3hh warmblood. He is lean, lithe and competition fit but still weighs in at 674kg.

Zoetis vet Wendy Talbot said: “Our case studies give a very real perspective on how easy it is to under-estimate the weight of our horses. Ideally you should weigh your horse at least once a year using the accuracy of a weighbridge – several feed manufacturers offer a portable weighbridge service.

“Weigh tapes, although less accurate, are a great way to keep tabs on weight once you have the accuracy of the weighbridge weight to refer to and have factored in any discrepancies. Remember that many horses will change in weight throughout the year.”

  • For further information, visit www.wormingyourhorse.info.
  • You can also download Stable Mate, Zoetis’ horse health management app, available from the iPhone app store and Google Play Store.
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