There is no doubt the world of horse worming in Australia is confusing. How, when and why to worm your horse is a frequently asked question – not surprising due to a shift in attitudes in recent years, stemming from:
- Increasing worm resistance
- Relatively few worming drugs we have on the market – with no new drugs on the horizon
This attitude represents a change from worm elimination to worm control – and is vital to retain the effectiveness of existing worming drugs as we move into the future.
Good paddock management is an essential part of worm control as it breaks the life cycle of most, if not all, equine worms.
As a cornerstone of worm control programs, effective paddock management can greatly reduce the requirement for wormers as worms are controlled outside of the horse.
Ideas for effective paddock management includes:
- Low stocking density. Ideally no more than two horses per hectare of land.
- Poo-picking 2-3 times per week on a regular basis can virtually eliminate a horse’s exposure to worms eggs!
- Rotating paddocks with other species such as cattle and sheep. The horse worms are eaten by the other species, passing harmlessly through the cattle or sheep then die thus breaking the cycle.
- Spelling paddocks for 6-8 weeks over the hot summer period may reduce the parasite burden
- Separating high and low worm burden horses. Within a population of horses approx 20% of horses carry 80% of the worms; these are horses with a high worm burden,and are more prone to carrying worms. Sometimes these high worm burden horses are younger horses but may also be older or immuno-suppressed horses. The only way you know is with a Fecal Egg Count. Ideally “high worm burden horses” would be separated from “low worm burden horses” to reduce the transmission of worms.
Do you manage your paddocks effectively for horse worm control? How often are you worming? See our worming programs for a recommendation that matches your efforts in the paddock - you may well use less wormers than you think.
EasyWormer recommends a fecal egg count before and after worming to determine the effectiveness of wormers and the level of resistance (if any) on your property and to consult your veterinarian before undertaking any worming program.