Equine Worming

Equine Worming

Clean water, prime feed and a good worming program are essential factors in the investment of your horse’s health. Therefore understanding the facts about equine parasites becomes crucial when it comes to making decisions about when and what to worm your horse. Value Plus has developed this booklet with ‘best practice’ suggestions for controlling equine parasites. Whether you have horses for breeding, showing, performance or just for pleasure, all horses are exposed to worms and therefore should be placed on an effective worming program to ensure optimum health, growth and performance.


Types of worms found in the horse
Internal parasites come in many forms. They can affect your horse throughout the parasitic life cycle and can thrive in pastures where your horse grazes, exercises and plays.

• Horses shed most eggs in manure, which are then ingested from contaminated soil.
• Adults located in the large bowel.
• Can cause significant damage to the gut, which may result in weakness and diarrhoea.
SMALL STRONGYLES (Redworms / Cyathostomes)
• Horses shed most eggs in manure, which are then ingested from contaminated soil.
• Adults located in the large bowel.
• Interfere with digestion.
• Eggs are ingested through contaminated soil.
• Adults located in the small intestine.
• Interfere with nutrition and can cause colic, diarrhoea and coughing.
• P. equorum - major concern in young horses.
PINWORMS (Oxyuris spp.)
• Eggs are shed in manure, which are then ingested from contaminated soil.
• Live in large intestine.
• Eggs are laid around the horses anus, causing the horse to scratch their tail constantly, leading to possible injury.
HAIRWORMS (Trichostrongylus axei)
• Eggs are shed in the manure, which are then ingested from contaminated soil.
• Found in stomach and small intestine.
• Can cause bleeding in intestines.
• Foals are very susceptible.
• Can survive in sheep and cattle.
LUNGWORMS (Dictyocaulus arnfieldi)
• Found in the horses airways.
• Eggs are coughed up and swallowed.
• Can cause a severe cough.
• Horses are more susceptible when run with donkeys.
TAPEWORMS (Anoplocephala spp.)
• Acquired by ingesting small mites present in the pasture.
• Found in the ileocecal junction (where the large intestine meets the small intestine).
• Large burdens can cause blockages.
INTESTINAL THREADWORMS (Strongyloides westeri)
• Mostly effects foals <6 months as they contract the worms through the mothers milk.
• Larvae may cause bleeding and respiratory problems.
• If left untreated can cause diarrhoea weakness and loss of weight.
NECK THREADWORMS (Onchocerca spp.)
• Worms lay live larvae which is deposited by midges on skin and wounds.
• Can travel into ligaments and tendons.
• Dead worms remain in affected tissues, visible as raised bumps.
• These worms lie in the mucus in the stomach.
• Eggs are then passed in manure and are ingested by maggots of flies.
• Flies/larvae are then ingested by the horse, when flies migrate around the horses mouth.
• Larvae on the eyes can lead to conjunctivitis and larvae in the wounds can lead lo summer sores.
BOTS {Gastrophilus spp.)
• Bots are larvae of flies.
• Flies lay eggs on horses’ legs, the eggs then hatch when the horse rubs its legs.
• Active in Summer and Autumn.
• Large number of bots in the stomach may damage the stomach lining.
• Treat for bots in late May and late August.

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