Symptoms of Worms

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Symptoms of Worms

This is a discussion on Symptoms of Worms within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Symptoms of parasite load in horses
  • Signs if a horse having worms

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    07-03-2012, 02:41 PM
Symptoms of Worms

So I went out to see my horse today and the BO was there with me. I brought him in and she suggested I worm him because he still looked like he had some of his winter coat (I live in Ontario, Canada, it was 30 degrees Celsius here yesterday!!) and he's a bit ribby despite being on hay and pasture 24/7 (he's a TB so that wasn't really concerning me just now) so I gave him a dose of ivermectin and the whole stable will be worming in about a month. I was told he was wormed just prior to my purchasing him, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was an outright lie as I've had a few other issues there...

Just out of curiosity what are some other worm symptoms you have seen in your horses? The coat thing was kind of surprising to me. My BO also said that apparently the herd could also tell that a horse was wormy and would pick on the wormy horses (my horse has A LOT of kick marks, but is typically low in the pecking order anyways). This really surprised me... Is it true in anyone else's experience?
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    07-03-2012, 09:14 PM
Green Broke
While the coat issue can be an indicator that the horse may be wormy, the best "sign", imo, is to have a FEC (Fecal Egg Count) performed so that you can target your deworming efforts towards the specific parasite load the horse is carrying and/or avoid unnecessary use of chemicals that can contribute to building drug resistant parasites (not to mention drain your $$$ needlessly)
    07-03-2012, 09:31 PM
Yeah I know the fecal egg count is the best. However in our area I think it's unusual to do them. In fact I had never heard of it until I started reading these forums. Now while that doesn't mean it's not done, I just think its much less common then in other areas. Typically barns in our area just set themselves up with a rotating worming schedule every season. I know in some people's opinion this may not be the most effective way but in barns where horses are pasture puffs and trail companions it seems to be effective.
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    07-03-2012, 11:05 PM
Id definitely deworm if my horses were looking ribby and have leftover winter coats in July.

First, id get a fecal count done because you need to find out what type of worms and what to deworm with.
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    07-04-2012, 04:06 AM
The problem with using a worming rotation, where you worm every 8 weeks, is that many worms have become resistant to many drugs. I get the newsletters, and they covered this recently in one of the Health newsletters. By doing the FEC and targeting the specific parasites your horse has, you will reduce the chance that your horse will have drug-resistant parasites.

The latest article I read stated that ivermectin, which had been the one drug that would still work on everything but tapeworms, is becoming less effective for small strongyles.

As far as symptoms go, it's kind of hard to say. Some horses carry a large parasite load with very few symptoms, while others can only tolerate a very light load. I've seen some horses with much longer hairs throughout their coats, weight loss, and a distended belly that had high worm loads, but there could be other causes for those things as well.

If I see symptoms, I like to do an FEC, because I want to be confident that the drugs available will keep working until new drugs come along.

ETA: The best way to be sure your dewormer worked is to do a follow-up FEC.
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    07-04-2012, 02:28 PM
Do you know of any labs in Canada that I can ship to. I know I can do it through my vet, but I'd have to pay for a call out as he doesn't really have an "office". I'd rather pay shipping if I were to do an FEC.
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    07-04-2012, 02:52 PM
I'm sorry, I don't. But I'm sure someone on here can let you know.
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    07-04-2012, 07:05 PM
The only laboratory I know of in Canada for animals that does equines is Idexx Laboratories. Although I believe you have to send samples through your veterinarian. You can always contact them and ask though.

Why not just collect a ball or two of feces and take it to your veterinarian and just pay the fee of the test? You shouldn't need a farm call. There has to be some kind of "office" for record keeping, storing samples for send out, clients to pay bills etc. so you should be able to drop it off there and pay the fee on the account.
    07-04-2012, 07:14 PM
Originally Posted by Linzee    
Do you know of any labs in Canada that I can ship to. I know I can do it through my vet, but I'd have to pay for a call out as he doesn't really have an "office". I'd rather pay shipping if I were to do an FEC.
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You don't need to take a sample to your specific vet, any clinic can do it. I live in a small hic town, the clinic here does it for $10, I usually test twice a year, results are always the same, nothing.
    07-05-2012, 09:32 AM
Taking into consideration that your TB is on hay & pasture 24/7, I'd try and synch his worming with the rest of the herd so you lower your risk of re-infestation. Have your FEC done, choose an appropriate wormer, and consult with your BO about having the rest of the herd done with the same wormer if possible, keeping them all on the same rotation from then on.

I get a FEC done in the spring and fall, around the time the frost goes & comes.

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