Are you confused about the correct way to worm your horse? If so, don’t worry because you are not alone. Almost every website you turn to seems to give different advice, whilst wormer manufacturers and even vets often make it sound equally complicated.
There are good reasons why correct worm control can seem difficult:
- Horses are susceptible to different worm species at different ages.
- Failing to monitor and treat appropriately can lead to serious worm related disease.
- Overuse of wormers is causing drug resistance, meaning some wormers no longer work against some worm species.
- However, many adult horses have good immunity to worms and only need worming once a year.
- Using worm egg counts in place of wormers can reduce costs and is the only way to reduce resistance.
All these factors mean that worming four times a year and considering the job sorted is no longer good enough. Fortunately, worming doesn’t have to be difficult – there are still some basic rules to wormer use, and, if you follow these, your horse will remain properly protected.
Below is a simple summary for a worm control programme that is suitable for most adult horses. It is followed by further information explaining how the plan works. Tower Equine offer a complete worm control package that includes regular worm egg counts. We are always happy to answer worm-related questions from livery yards and one-horse owners alike.
How to Worm
A Simple Worming Routine for Adult Horses, five years old or over:
- Perform a worm egg count (WEC) three times a year, in spring, summer and autumn (typically February/March, June/July and Sep/Oct). No worming treatment is necessary unless the WEC results are high.
- A single wormer treatment in winter (ideally December). This once a year strategy targets any low levels of tapeworms, bots, roundworms or large strongyles that may still be lurking. This does not need to be the ‘strongest wormer’ available, and the vet will advise which is the best one to use.
- Optional tapeworm testing every six months with ‘Equisal’. A low result means that the once-a-year worming in winter need not include a tapeworm treatment.
It really is that simple! Stick to this plan and, not only will your horse be well protected from worm damage, you will also avoid increasing wormer resistance. It is worth adding that the WEC are most likely to be negative if paddocks are well managed. This means:
- picking up droppings at least twice a week.
- avoiding overstocking.
- testing new arrivals before they are turned out onto the same pasture.
This plan is suitable for horses over the age of four on well-maintained pasture. It is not suitable for younger horses and advice for owners with youngstock is included below. We would always recommend that studs and larger livery yards contact us for an individual worming plan tailored to their premises.