Stay Current on Your Horse’s Deworming Rotation

Deworming refers to removing parasites in your horse’s digestive system. Horses catch worms when they are grazing with previously infected horses, who infect the soil with their manure. As your horse eats grass, they catch the worms by ingesting them. Since pastures can remain infected for years, deworming becomes a regular horse care routine that is recommended by your horse vet in Cannon Falls, MN. Here is an overview of worm symptoms and how to establish a deworming schedule.

Infection symptoms

Even healthy horses can catch worms and remain healthy-looking through their infection. The signs of infection are often subtle, and it’s important to be familiar with your horse’s regular appetite and behavior.

Common signs of infection include lethargy, weight loss, deteriorating condition, diarrhea, colic, reduced appetitive and a dull coat. Since these symptoms can indicate many illnesses, the best way to confirm infection is with a fecal test. Performed by your veterinarian, the test reveals the extent of the infection and type of parasite, which helps you determine your deworming schedule and the type of dewormer your horse needs.

Setting a deworming schedule

Generally, horses should be dewormed every two months. However, there is a strong likelihood that parasites become resistant to dewormer if you keep using the same type, so it’s best to set a rotating dewormer schedule.

There are four types of common parasites: strongyles, roundworms, tapeworms and bots. While some dewormers kill all types, there are also dewormers that are geared toward killing one type of parasite. All parasites are fairly seasonal in that you can predict when they become the most prevalent and determine your most effective dewormer at that time.

This will create a schedule that may look something like this:

  • January 31: Deworm with Pyrantel, which addresses large and small strongyles, pinworms and large roundworms.
  • March 31: Deworm with Benzimidazole, which will address large and small strongyles, encysted cyathostomes, pinworms and roundworms.
  • May 31: Deworm with Ivermectin, which will address large and small strongyles, small blood worms, roundworms, bots, threadworms, pinworms, hairworms, lungworms and large-mouth stomach worms.
  • July 31: Deworm using the January 31 routine.
  • September 30: Deworm using the March 31 routine.
  • November 30: Deworm using the May 31 routine.

Keep in mind that this is just an example, as your veterinarian may design a unique deworming program for your horse’s specific needs and the elements of your pasture area. However, note that you should use a different deworming every two months. This prevents parasites from gaining resistance, while also addressing the parasite that dominates during that season.

There are many ways to manage a dewormer program. Since most dewormers do not expire for a year, many horse owners buy their deworming stash at the start of the year and label them with the date their horse needs them. Setting calendar reminders to deworm also proves helpful.

Tom Winter from Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd. is the horse vet located in Cannon Falls, MN. Reach out to us today to schedule a farm call if you require assistance with deworming your horses or setting up a deworming schedule that pertains to the needs of your horses.