It is no secret that horses are showing resistance to modern wormers, specifically the Benzimidazole group of drugs. As a consequence, there has been increased uptake on the ivermectin based products and also Moxidectin.
There are currently no plans to introduce new anthelmintic products i.e. wormers and so what is available on the market now, needs to be used as sparingly as possible and combined with other management protocols to prolong the availability of existing wormers.
There are a number of steps you can take to manage your horse’s worm burden, part of the collective responsibility of all horse owners to protect their animals and avoid the situation where there are no wormers left on the saddlery shelves – a real possibility.Read our guide to learn more about you can help control your horse’s worm burden without just reaching for a syringe.
Collect droppings from your horse’s pasture if not daily then every two or three days
Take the example of one owner who has kept between two and three horses on the same land for 13 years and used a faecal worm count every three months. She has the occasional visiting horse to use the arena but they do not graze her paddocks. To date, she has never had a reading of more than 50 epg – eggs per gram – other than on one occasion with an old horse with lowered immunity and other health issues who did then require worming. She has not, therefore, followed a conventional 6-week worming programme at all, worming only for tapeworm and encysted red worm in the winter and used no other wormers for the entire 13 years.
Do not use tapeworm treatments but consider instead the new saliva test
Worms are a clever parasite that can evolve and change to counteract and circumvent drugs which horse owners have relied on for decades. Horse owners are now going to have to match this ability to change by altering their tried and trusted methods of worming, embracing new ideas and taking a more proactive role in managing both horses and the pasture they graze on.
Gone are the days of squirting a tube of medication and forgetting about the problem for a few weeks.The message has been in the public domain for a long time now, at least a decade, but not everyone is taking it seriously or can understand the implications for the horse. Those who are old enough to remember will cast their minds back to parasite-related health issues, principally colic caused by massive worm infestations. No-one wants to go back to the bad old days.
So the takeaway is, protect your key medicines and do everything you can in your horse’s environment to reduce the worm challenge your horse encounters.