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Worming with Diatomaceous Earth?

This is a discussion on Worming with Diatomaceous Earth? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Diotomaceous earth as horse wormer
  • Have ny horses had a bad reaction to diatomaceous earth

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    07-25-2012, 06:43 AM
  #11
Foal
I tend to worry too much, and I've heard of many people using this but would there be the possibility of this stuff staying in the intestines like sand and causing colic? I'd ask the Vet.
     
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    07-25-2012, 06:58 AM
  #12
Weanling
Wormers are such common items now that in some ways its quite difficult to get it wrong and have a problem. Most wormers are tested up to about 5x reccomended dosage without any side effects.

But if the horses has had a FWEC and the result came back very low, in some ways there isn't much point in worming the horse. If alli has a very low WEC I don't bother worming. Needless chemicals, needless spending!

For natural worm control you could try brorrowing some sheep off someone as the sheep ingest the worms, but don't poop the eggs out again.
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    07-25-2012, 07:49 AM
  #13
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by othbsits    
I tend to worry too much, and I've heard of many people using this but would there be the possibility of this stuff staying in the intestines like sand and causing colic? I'd ask the Vet.
I has the consistency of baking flour. The name makes it sound like dirt but it's fluffy and white like flour.

My old trainer fed this to a few of her horses. I can't say medically if it worked because she relied heavily on what she thought she could see so didnt do FEC's. I'm going to say that she considered it effective though because once the bag ran out she proclaimed them "cured."
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    07-25-2012, 08:26 AM
  #14
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
If you don't mind me asking, what kind of dewormer was that and how was it improperly given? The wrong dosage or ???

I would rather not have that experience!
It was Ivermectin - a 2 month old colt was given an adult horse's dose, this totally ruined the balance of his stomach after a serious colic because of it we took him to tufts, who overdosed him with antibiotics and killed him.
We also have a horse at our rescue who's a boarder who's owner insists on worming this poor old mare every month with a new drug (and I get it you need to rotate them for them to work) but this poor horse's stomach doesn't have a chance to recover from the first poison before she gets the next dose, she's truly a mess.
I find young healthy horses don't have much of a reaction because their stomach rebalances fairly quickly, but older, sickly or very young horses get really screwed up. That being said I'm looking at options for two, young healthy horses xD

Othbsits - good question, I haven't seen a horse have any negative reaction to it, but that very well could happen I suppose? It's not sand or dirt like it sounds, it is a white flour-like substance. But I tried a little pinch of it once (I try all my horse's foods :P) and it was actually quite sharp on my tongue - drank down a bottle of water and was fine, but it felt like swallowing sand.

Alli- I'm kind of the same way, I don't want to add anything they don't need, but at the same time I feel funny not doing anything. Which is why I'm looking for less severe ways of doing the same thing.

Joe + Evil - I just got my two horses fairly recently and wouldn't want to worm without a vet's say-so, so I was referring to the large farm-call vet bill that comes with the recommendation of which wormer to use. :P

Trail - Yes!! There is a BIG difference! The non-food grade is what I line my stalls with to kill the bugs, that's all great but it's often mixed with other stuff not safe to eat. Jeffer's sells food grade, it looks like it can also be used to kill topical insects like Lice.

P.S. Our rescue was used as a control group for an Ivermectin study, done by a naturalist group (so I'm sure biased in some ways) But they found our horses who had never been wormed with anything besides the occasional Diatomaceous earth - compared to horses wormed only with Ivermectin - compared to horses on a rotational wormer including ivermectin. This particular study found our horses had fewer worms and the amount didn't fluctuate nearly as much. So, each month they had a fecal and they had the same low amount, versus ones on chemical wormers had no worms right after worming then within a few months had a fairly high level. But here's were I see the bias come in - our horses never leave our property, it's very rare that we get a new horse and they are sufficiently quarantined so they're not really ever exposed to anything new.

This is interesting - lots of things I didn't think about, thanks for all the thoughtful responses! I'm curious to see more thoughts on this as I'm still undecided.
     
    07-25-2012, 08:50 AM
  #15
Green Broke
You don't need a farm call to worm a horse, spend 4 bucks at horse.com and order some wormers, or don't. But stop making excuses for not doing the obvious that nearly everyone else in the horse world does.
Either get a fecal count, and worm accordingly, or just go ahead and worm em. You are making it way more difficult than it really is.
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    07-25-2012, 09:17 AM
  #16
Started
If you read my follow up you'll see I have done a fecal and had a farm call already. I will do what's right by my horses, I always try to -as of right now according to my vet nothing is necessary. I'm simply curious as to alternatives. I'm not here to 'make things complicated' I want to learn about all alternatives and thus make a more educated decision on how to treat my animals.
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    07-25-2012, 09:41 AM
  #17
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by PunksTank    
It was Ivermectin - a 2 month old colt was given an adult horse's dose, this totally ruined the balance of his stomach after a serious colic because of it we took him to tufts, who overdosed him with antibiotics and killed him.
While I can understand your reluctance, the things you wrote above aren't problems with giving the drugs-only that they were given improperly. So, to be worried about giving a horse wormiing medication doesn't really make sense if you think about it. What a person needs to be worried about is giving a proper dose and following the package directions.

One way to ensure that you don't overdose on a weight based wormer (or any other medication) that has more in the syringe than you need is to do a little simple math. All of the weigh based paste wormers have graduated marks on the syringe for that purpose. Some already have the math I will explain below already done for you so READING the directions are critical!

First you'd figure out how much you need to dose. Then figure out the total amount in the syringe. Subtract the amount you need to dose from the total amount available-then "waste" the extra amount out of the syringe into the garbage.

For instance, if there are 10 units of wormer in the syringe and you only need 8 then push out 2 units and discard them. That way the remaining wormer in the syringe will be the correct dose and there is -0- chance of overdosing.

As far as DE being less "severe" than a chemical wormer, you should know that DE is an abrasive substance, even when finely powdered. There isn't a lot of studies done out there about how it works as a wormer but the speculation is that the abrasive action causes irritation to the horse's bowels. Those who do dose it also suggest not inhaling it as it can cause severe respiratory complications. Now from reading I know how Ivermectin (and other wormers) work by attacking the parasite directly, and they have a proven record of effectiveness with relatively few side effects. So in my mind, it is far safer to do fecal counts and carefully dose commercial preparations as opposed to using DE due to the variables involved (how much is enough, how effective, and how overall irritating it is).

On a little different track, a lot of people think herbals and naturals must be better for horses-and people for that matter. They believe that natural is less dangerous and has less side effects. But in reality there are lots of things that are natural-including oxygen and water- that if ingested incorrectly will cause sickness and even death.
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    07-25-2012, 09:44 AM
  #18
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
I

In a nutshell, it is a flour-like substance made from diatoms that is supposed to damage the outer skeleton of insects and worms, killing them but without harming larger animals.
The problem here is once the DE is wet, the sharp edges of the diatoms that allegally puncture the larvae, become soft and smooth. Can't ingest it without getting it wet and rendering it ineffective
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    07-25-2012, 09:54 AM
  #19
Started
Very interesting!! Thank you, this all makes sense. I probably will go with a commercial dewormer. You're right many people think 'natural' means better but not always. Which is why I wanted to post this. Good answers :)
I'll probably continue using d-earth around the barn as i've found it does cut down on the midges that my horse is allergic to. But i'll probably just do fecals every few months and worm accordingly.
Thanks everyone, very insightful!
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    07-25-2012, 02:00 PM
  #20
Foal
I knew a farm owner who was trying to convince me how diatomaceous earth was such a great dewormer ...until I pointed out the 2 foot long worm hanging out of her sheep's rectum. I don't trust it at all.
     

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