Effective worm control relies on the correct and responsible use of wormers by using a diagnostic-led and targeted worming programme, combined with good pasture management.
- Use faecal worm egg counts (FWEC) during the grazing season (approx. every 12 weeks) to assess whether your horse needs worming.
- In Autumn/Winter use a tapeworm saliva test and a risk assessment, possibly including a blood test, to determine whether you need to treat your horse for tapeworm or small redworm larvae .
- Your vet will advise on an appropriate wormer if one is required. The type of wormer will depend on the time of year and the worms which are being targeted.
- All horses and ponies on the yard, which need to be treated for worms should be all wormed at the same time.
- Use the correct dose. The recommended dosage will vary according to the horse’s weight. Estimate weight as accurately as possible using a weighbridge or a weigh tape.
- Don’t rely on the blanket use of the same wormer; This may encourage the development of drug resistance in the worm population.
There are four main classes of anthelmintics (wormers). These are:
- Benzimidazoles: fen/me- bendazole
- Tetrahydropyrimidines: pyrantel embonate
- Macrocyclic lactones: Iver/aver -mectins
- Praziquantel based wormers (tapeworm treatment ONLY)
As well as having a diagnostic-led, targeted worming programme for your horse, and only worming when you need to, there are several other things you can do to help control the worm burden of your horse:
- Regularly ‘poo pick’ paddocks (ideally daily but at least twice a week)
- Don’t harrow pastures
- Don’t use horse manure as a fertiliser on horse paddocks
- Don’t overstock pastures (ideally two acres or more for each horse)
- Graze paddocks with other livestock (sheep or cattle)
- Sub-divide grazing areas into smaller paddocks and graze on a rotational basis
- Rest paddocks for 6 months or longer if possible