Tape Worm

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Tape Worm

This is a discussion on Tape Worm within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • How is tapeworm transmitted to horses
  • Can humans get equine tape worms

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    07-08-2009, 03:02 PM
Tape Worm

Hi All!
This is really my first official post on this site so I'm sorry if I posted in the wrong section!

My question is, there is a horse at the barn I go to who has tapeworm. My mare has been turned out in the same field as this horse and I have been told it is very contagious. I am planning on worming my horse on Saturday.

This is my first horse and first time dealing with tape worm (I have a lot of help from other boarders!) but I'm wondering is there anything else I should do for my mare? Should I be looking out for certain health concerns or anything like that?

Also does anyone know if it can be transferred to humans? Lol (just curious!)

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    07-08-2009, 03:28 PM
Fortunately we have never had to deal with tapeworms. I found a great article on thehorse.com sponsored by Pfizer

Here's the link: http://www.thehorse.com/pdf/tapeworms/Tapeworm.pdf

I do believe they can be transfered to humans.
    07-08-2009, 03:53 PM
First of all, what about other horse? Will it be also dewormed on Sat? As far as I understand you want to keep both of them on same schedule (because the worms have certain cycle).

And from what I know it may be transferred to people, so better wash your hands well when come home (it's true in general, because other worms live in people too)...
    07-08-2009, 04:53 PM
Thank you both so much for your help. It is much appreciated!

Kitten Val- as far as I know the horse will also be wormed on Sat. But I am new to this barn and don't speak the same language as the other boarders. But like I said as far as I know he will be too.

Thanks again!
    07-08-2009, 05:50 PM
To stop any craziness right off, equine tapeworms cannot be transmitted to humans.

You do not need to deworm for tapeworms more than twice a year. Deworming every horse on a property for them isn't going to get rid of them because they do not have a direct life cycle. Once eggs get into a pasture they are ingested by orbatid mites and then those mites get ingested by horses and the tapeworm finishs it's lifecycle.

The key to controlling tapeworms is simply to deworm spring and fall with a deworming that is labelled for use against them. This is enough to control tapeworm contamination in pastures.
    07-08-2009, 11:33 PM
Originally Posted by Ryle    
To stop any craziness right off, equine tapeworms cannot be transmitted to humans.
Ryle, so if you have eggs on hands and then eat something you have no chance at all to get tapeworms? Is there any reference that they are not? I tried to google it up, but couldn't find anything about horse - human parasites at all.
    07-10-2009, 06:37 PM
A common sickness in horses that can be daedly is Strangles can affect horses of any age, but most commonly infects those between one and five years of age. The disease is usually acquired after exposure to another horse that is shedding the streptococcus equi bacteria, either during or after its own bout of the illness. This commonly occurs when new horses are introduced to an established herd. Although the infectious horse may no longer show signs of strangles, it can still spread the bacteria. Around twenty percent of horses remain contagious for a month after all symptoms vanish.

While direct contact between horses is the most common way that strangles is spread, it can also be spread by contaminated equipment. Improperly cleaned and shared buckets, stalls, and tack can spread the disease between horses. Fortunately, the bacteria die fairly quickly in the environment.

Once a horse is exposed to the bacteria, it will begin to show symptoms in two to six days. If left untreated, it will develop abscessed lymph nodes within one to two weeks after the onset of illness. These lymph nodes will rupture and drain, and the drainage is highly contagious. Most horses will recover, but around ten percent of untreated horses die, usually from a secondary infection which causes pneumonia.

Rarely, the abscesses will spread to other parts of the horse’s body, such as the lungs, internal organs, or even the horse’s brain. This condition is called “******* strangles.” It is uncommon and is usually fatal.

The treatment of strangles is dependent on the stage of the disease.

To control the spread of the strangles bacteria, any new horse with a vague or unknown health history should be isolated for four to six weeks before being added to the general population of the stable or paddock. Nasal swabs can ascertain whether the horse is shedding the streptococcus equi bacteria, but because affected horses shed the bacteria sporadically, one swab test is not enough. Three nasal swabs over a period of seven days are required before it can be assumed that the horse is negative for strangles.

Strangles can also be controlled by vaccinations. Although modern vaccines are more effective than those of the past, providing better protection with fewer side effects, they are not a complete guarantee against the disease. Still, vaccinated horses tend to have a less severe illness if they do contract strangles. Horses cannot contract strangles from the vaccine itself, since it is made from only parts of the pulverized bacterium.

If you suspect that your horse has strangles, notify your veterinarian to confirm the presence of the disease. The sooner a positive diagnosis is reached, the less “down time” the stable will have to tolerate. Also, if a horse begins antibiotic treatment in the early stages of the disease, lymph node abscesses can be prevented.

Old veterinary practices warned against using antibiotics for strangles because of the suspicion that it could cause ******* strangles. However, there is no evidence that this is the case. Usually, when horses are treated with antibiotics in the early stages of strangles, they will recover unless the antibiotics are not given in the correct amounts or are stopped too soon. Even if the horse is on antibiotic therapy, it must be isolated from the rest of the stable and herd to prevent the spread of the illness.

However, once lymph nodes have enlarged and become abscessed, antibiotic treatment will only prolong the horse’s illness. It is better to allow the abscess to open, or have the veterinarian lance it, so that it may drain. The best treatment at this point is to flush the drainage site, keep the area as clean as possible, and to maintain strict isolation of the ill horse.

If your horse was stabled near one who had strangles at a show or rodeo, it is reasonable to treat it with antibiotics for at least six days after exposure. This is because horses usually don’t show the first signs of the disease for two to six days. However, if your horse is kept in a barn where other horses have strangles, antibiotics will do little to prevent it from getting the disease. My mare had just gotten over this she was sick with it for 3 long months and this is not cheap


    07-10-2009, 10:49 PM
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
Ryle, so if you have eggs on hands and then eat something you have no chance at all to get tapeworms?
Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Tapeworms will not continue their lifecycle without the egg being ingested by an orbatid might (a grass mite). So eating an equine (or canine or feline) tapeworm egg will not give you tapeworms.

My reference would by my parasitology book. ;)
    07-11-2009, 04:42 PM
Wow, I always thought humans could get tapeworms. Maybe a different type? I read somewhere that people back in the 1800's would purposely ingest a tapeworm to lose weight. I found this article that will now go in my "really gross stuff" file. HowStuffWorks "Tapeworm Parasite"
    07-11-2009, 05:14 PM
Originally Posted by kitten_Val    
Ryle, so if you have eggs on hands and then eat something you have no chance at all to get tapeworms? Is there any reference that they are not? I tried to google it up, but couldn't find anything about horse - human parasites at all.
What Ryle said.

And the only way you can get eggs on your hands is if you pick up poop containing eggs with your hands... I imagine you use a pitchfork.

But, just being around the horse for grooming, deworming, etc, you don't have to worry.

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