Worming

There is currently a lot of confusion about how often, and with which product, we should be worming our horses. Due to emerging resistance to all major types of wormer it is very important horses are wormed less regularly and in a more strategic fashion, with use of worm egg counts (WECs) to ensure that these fewer doses of wormers are being effective, rather than dosing all horses every few weeks as was recommended in the past. In addition to being unnecessarily expensive, this older method of worming increases the speed at which resistance to wormers develops. Since not all wormers kill all types of worm and some products are ineffective due to high levels of resistance, ‘old-style’ routine worming does not equate to effective worming.

WECs are very useful in determining whether your worming programme is currently effective, and whether de-worming is required at all at certain times of year (please see section on ‘worm egg counts’ as to how to collect a sample). However there are some types of worm, notably tapeworms and larval cyathostomes, which will not be detected by using WECs. High levels of both these worm types are known risk factors for some types of colic so it is important that they are controlled effectively. A horse’s tapeworm burden can be determined by a simple blood test (please ask us for details) which helps to determine how frequently you should be dosing your horse for tapeworms, and we advise seasonal dosing for cyathostome larvae, regardless of WEC results, to ensure these are not being overlooked.

Whilst the general principles remain the same for all horses, there is no standard ‘one size fits all’ regime that will be effective and safe for all types of horse, ponies and donkeys in all situations. In-foal mares, breeding stallions and youngstock need special consideration too where appropriate. We are always happy to advise owners ‘what to do next’ at all times of the year, or in response to worm egg count results, but where possible it is best if we can advise you in advance on a year-by-year plan for your horse or yard. We do not charge for this advice so please do ask us!

Our wormers are priced very competitively and compare very favourably against the internet sites so do give us a try. We may be able to offer a further reduced price if you are buying a large number of wormers at a time so please ask what is available and for our current prices where necessary.