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Worming horses

Easy guide to worming horses
Worming your horse is not an easy task; there are many areas to consider:

Basic Rules

1. Understand what type of wormer you are using or needing to use
2. Make sure you have chosen the correct worming interval between worming applications
3. Make sure you know your horses or ponies weight
4. Check the weight the wormer covers
5. Minimise worm larvae in your pasture


Wormer Name: Equest & Equest Pramox
Main Active Ingredient: Moxidectin

Spring (March/April) - Equest Pramox
Summer (June/July) - Equest
Autumn (Sept/Oct) - Equest Pramox
Winter (Dec/Jan) - Equest

Wormer Name: Equimax, Eraquell, Equest or Panacur 5 Day Guard
Main Active Ingredients: Ivermectin

January - Eraquell
February - Equest or Panacur 5 Day Guard (Use Equest if you are concerned about resistance)
April - Equimax
June - Eraquell
August - Eraquell
October - Equimax
(November - A second treatment for encysted redworm can be added here if needed, Equest or Panacur 5 Day Guard)

Wormer Name: Eqvalan, Eqvalan Duo & Equest or Panacur Equine Guard
Main Active Ingredient: Ivermectin

February - Equest or Panacur 5 Day Guard (Use Equest if you are concerned about resistance)
March - Eqvalan Duo
May - Eqvalan
July - Eqvalan
October - Eqvalan Duo
(November - A second treatment for encysted redworm can be added here if needed, Equest or Panacur 5 Day Guard)
December - Eqvalan


ROUNDWORMS - Routinely treat throughout the year at suggested intervals for each active ingredient. Strategic worming can help save time and money by combining treatments:

Moxidectin - Every 13 weeks -No recorded resistance
Ivermectin - Every 8-10 weeks -Some resistance to large roundworms/ascarids
Pyrantel - Every 4-8 weeks -Some resistance to small & large redworms/strongyles
Fenbendazole - Every 6-8 weeks - Widespread resistance to small redworm
Menbendazole - Every 6 weeks - Widespread resistance to small redworm

Examples of wormers: Equest (Moxidectin), Equest Pramox (Moxidectin & Praziquantel),
Equimax (Ivermectin & Praziquantel), Eqvalan (Ivermectin), Eraquell (Ivermectin), Vectin (Ivermectin)

TAPEWORM - Treat every 6 months-March/April/May then September/October/November

Single dose of Praziquantel based wormer or double dose of Pyrantel based wormer

Example of wormers: Embotape (Pryantel - double dose), Equest Pramox (Moxidectin & Praziquantel single dose), Equitape (Praziquantel double dose), Strongid P (Pyrantel double dose)

ENCYSTED SMALL REDWORM - Treat November & February
Single dose of Moxidectin or 5 day course of Fenbendazole

Examples of wormers: Equest (Moxidectin), Equest Pramox (Moxidectin & Praziquantel), Panacur 5 day guard (Fenbendazole)

BOTS - Treat after first hard frost-November/December/Jan
Single dose of moxidection or ivermectin based wormer.

Examples of wormers: Bimectin (Ivermectin), Equest (Moxidectin), Eqvalan (Ivermectin), Vectin (Ivermectin)


* Rising temperatures mean any dormant worm eggs will start to develop into infective larvae. Any infection your horse may have had will now begin to emerge from your horse creating new burdens on pasture.

* Roundworms should be routinely treated for. Again, if timing is right choose a wormer that also treats for tapeworm.

* Tapeworms must be treated for the first time in the year.


* Warm, moist conditions give worms the ideal conditions to develop and infective larvae numbers on pasture are at their highest.

* Roundworms must be routinely treated for.

* Prolonged grazing = heavy parasite exposure

* Roundworms should have been treated during the grazing period with a routine wormer. Carry on to routinely treat. To save money it may be worth choosing wormers that have cover for tapeworm and roundworm, and then roundworm and encysted. This way you do not have to use separate products for each, saving time, money and stress on you and your horse if he/she is not keen on being wormed.

* Tapeworm need to be treated for in the second tapeworm treatment of the year (every 6 months - Spring & Autumn). Tapeworms don't show any particular seasonality as to when they infect horses, but prolonged grazing causes greater risk. Treat in Sept/Oct/Nov (6 months from your last dose)

* Any Small Redworm that are picked up from pasture during the autumn become dormant after they have burrowed into the horses gut wall and form a cyst where they are know as inhibited encysted small redworm. Here they develop and emerge on mass late winter/early spring. They can cause severe weight loss, colic and be potentially fatal. Treat in November (or October if on the Equest/Equest Pramox program).

* Frosts and cold conditions may cause eggs on pasture to become dormant and kill infective larvae, but the wetter, milder winter conditions of the past few years mean larvae can still survive the winter and infect your horse.

* Roundworms should still be treated during the winter with a routine wormer, or if the timing is correct, with a combined wormer to treat bots and encysted small redworm.

* Bots must be treated after the first hard frost after adult flies have died. Treat November/December/Jan after first hard frost.

* Encysted Small Redworm must be treated for. If you horse is infected they usually emerge on mass winter/early spring and should be treated before this can happen as it can be potentially fatal

Tips to help reduce worm burdens

* Poo pick as often as possible.
* If possible, rest pasture from autumn to summer to help break parasite lifecycles.
* Use bedding such as shavings or paper to stop horses eating bedding and increasing their risk of consuming parasites.
* Feed hay in haynets/mangers and not on the floor to reduce risk of consuming parasites.
* If possible keep pasture stocking levels to a minimum.

Horses with unknown worming history
* The suggested wormer to use for these horses is Equest Pramox as there is no known resistance, so if the horse has built up any resistance to worms, they will still be treated with this wormer. Equest Pramox covers all the important and most dangerous worms (Tapeworm, bots, roundworms and encysted small redworm) in a single dose. It can be used at any time of year for this type of horse and they should be kept stabled for 3 days to reduce the risk of any pasture contamination. (Do not use on foals under 6.5 months of age, pregnant or lactating mares.)

* Due to foals low tolerance to parasites it is important to make sure a worming regime is put into place. Although a foal may not initially show any sign of infestation, symptoms such as diarrhoea, loss of appetite and weight loss, and in rare cases death, are all possible. Worms can be ingested from the foal's environment or its dam. Pregnant mares natural tolerance to worms is reduced during the later stages of her pregnancy so her faeces may have elevated levels of eggs and therefore infect pasture. It is also possible that worms can be passed on through the mothers milk. Particular worms that can have a detrimental effect are intestinal threadworms and large roundworms/ascarids.

* Intestinal Threadworms - Often passed on through the mares milk. They have a short life cycle so can develop heavy infestations early in a foal's life. Natural immunity is acquired at around 6 months of age so worming is imperative to help the foal before this occurs.

* Large Roundworms/Ascarids - The eggs of this parasite are extremely hardy and can survive for years. Foal mainly pick up infection from faeces as foals are known to eat fresh manure to help aid digestion. Again heavy infestations can occur before natural immunity is built up at 18 months of age.

* Treatment - Foals should be treated from 4-6 weeks of age. Treatment should be given every 4 weeks until they are 6 months old. They can then be put on a standard worming program. It is important to only choose wormers that are licensed for use in young foals.

Equest - can use on foals from 4 months of age, Equimax - can be used on foals from 2 weeks of age, Eqvalan Duo - can be used on foals from 2 months of age

Pregnant Mares
During the later stages of pregnancy a mares tolerance to worms is lowered and she can become a source of pasture contamination. In order the prevent the mare from acquiring heavy worm burdens and contaminating her new foal through her milk or environment, she should be wormed routinely. She should also be wormed just before foaling to reduce the risk of passing any parasites to the foal through her milk. It is important to choose wormers that are licensed for use in pregnant or lactating mares.

Bimectin - can be used on pregnant mares, Embotape - can be used and pregnant or lactating mares, Equest - can be used on pregnant or lactating mares, Equimax - can be used on pregnant or lactating mares, Eqvalan Duo - can be used after the first 3 months of pregnancy and on lactating mares, Eqvalan - can be used on pregnant mares, Strongid P - can be used on pregnant or lactating mares

for more details on horse wormers, see our horse worming section
Easy guide to worming horses

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