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sempre_cantando 05-31-2008 05:51 AM

is it necessary to worm horses every 6 weeks if...
Our two horses live together in a yard which is cleaned very regularly (almost everyday) and they have no contact with other horses. They never leave our property unless they are being ridden and other horses never come on our property. Is it still necessary to worm them every 6-8 weeks? Or can we do it less frequently. It seems a bit pointless worming them so often when there's no way they can pick up more worms from anywhere. Currently we worm them every 3 months. What is your opinion?

PaintHorseMares 05-31-2008 06:26 AM

When we had just 2 mares, we only wormed every 3 months and never had a problem. Even though we keep everything cleaned up everyday too, when we added mare #3, we went to every 2 months just to be safe.

SonnyWimps 05-31-2008 09:11 AM

I worm every other month....that's what my vet suggested and I haven't had a problem

Vidaloco 05-31-2008 09:21 AM

We worm every 3 months with 4 horses on a 7 acre pasture. I had our vet do a fecal count several months after worming and they were clear. You might have your vet do one if your not sure if your worming schedule is adequate.

PaintHorseMares 05-31-2008 10:46 AM

BTW, in at least some states (like NC) you can get the fecal count done for free from the state Agriculture department...

KANSAS_TWISTER 05-31-2008 02:09 PM

we worm evey 3 month (with 2 horse) and changing worming brand every time we worm

Ryle 05-31-2008 06:38 PM

For sempre_cantando, most likely your horses require less deworming than the typically recommended "every 6-8 weeks". Since you pick up feces every day or every couple of days, the pasture contamination is minimized especially if you have been doing this for more than a few months. (Contact with other horses doesn't play into it much unless other horses are deficating where your horses eat.) To see what kind of parasite load your horses are carrying, wait past the "egg reappearance period" (listed below) for the last drug you used and then have a fecal egg count done. This will give you a good idea of how quickly your horses are picking up a worm burden from your pastures. If the count is below 200, then I would wait and check an FEC in a couple more months. Deworm when the count gets above 200 (or whatever is recommended by the vet doing your FEC). If the count is over 200 on the first FEC, then I would increase the amount of times you deworm based upon the egg reappearance for a year and then try to go to deworming only when the FEC's indicate a need. But really you need some information (gained by doing a few FEC's ) to know what kind of pasture contamination you already have to determine if your deworming program is appropriate or not.

A deworming plan depends on lots of variables--age of horses, type of management (stalled vs. pasture vs dry lot), pasture maintenance practices, history of the pasture (have there been horses on the pasture previously), local environmental conditions. Some horses only need to be dewormed once or twice a year while others require a much more stringent deworming program. Once these variables are known, then you can formulate a deworming plan that fits the situation.

Rotating dewormers is an old plan that was necessary back when the drugs we had available where not broad spectrum--one might get ascarids, another strongyles, etc--so rotation was done so that you were treating for all the different types of parasites. Then it was continued once we got better drugs available for deworming even though it's not necessary to be able to target the different parasites but in the hopes of preventing the parasites becoming resistant to the drugs. However, this has not been the case and with the situation we are now in there is very little "room" for rotating drugs (which in fact means rotating classes of drugs not just brands or chemicals) because the benzimendizole class (fenbendazole-Safeguard, Panacur, etc) is of very little use because of resistance issues in 95% of the world, and the pyrantel paste (Strongid, Equicide, Rotectin, Strongyle Care) has resistance issues in around 50% of the areas where it is used. The avermectins (moxidectin and ivermectin) are the only class of dewormer that doesn't currently have any resistance issues in strongyles which is the main issue in adult horses (though ivermectin resistant ascarids have been seen in certain areas and this is an issue for foals). So, rotation options are limited at best and it's really not the rotation that is most important for preventing parasite resistance but appropriate dosing and treatment intervals.
And with the new information from Kentucky where a recent study showed that strongyles where they were testing appeared to be developing resistance to ivermectin, focusing on better parasite control with appropriate deworming program and pasture management is even more critical.

You need to be SURE you are not under dosing your horses so always use a weight tape or measure your horse and calculate his weight. In studies even many vets were way off on weight estimations and they have the benefit of spending a few years working in situations where they get to walk horses onto scales daily to see what 900 lbs LOOKS LIKE.

Weight calculation information:
Body Weight Estimation of Horses KG calculation shown as well as a chart based upon heart girth measure (remember, the heart girth only assessment may be off by as much as 200 lbs just like weight tapes)
Horse Weight: Estimate It Easily How to calculate in pounds

As for appropriate dosing intervals, you want to treat according to the egg reappearance period so that you are dosing to prevent continual recontamination of your pastures. This method means that you will be cutting back on your horse's risk of parasite infestation significantly after a year appropriate dewormings because you will have cut the number of parasite larva on your pastures. It also means that you won't be deworming at a time when there are no parasites in the system that will be susceptible to the product you are using next which happens if you dose too soon after ivermectin or moxidectin with pyrantel or fenbendazole because at normal doses these two chemicals only kill adults in the GI tract and if you've dewormed with moxidectin last 8 weeks ago there aren't adults there to kill and you've missed the migrating larva which will then start shedding eggs 4 weeks after you treat with either of these drugs and shed for the 4 weeks until you deworm again. Or if you dewormed with ivermectin 6 weeks ago and treat with either pyrantel or fenbendazole you will start seeing egg shedding into your pasture in 2 weeks because you didn't have adults in the GI tract when you dewormed last but they will be there in a couple of weeks. Or in the case where you actually do have adults for the pyrantel or fenbendazole (which again is not likely to be working) to affect because it's been 8 weeks since your last dose of ivermectin you will again have parasite ova being shed in 4 weeks because that is how long after the use of either of those drugs you start seeing adult egg shedding parasites in the GI tract. So deworming based upon Egg Reappearance Periods, you would deworm and then deworm again based upon what drug you used last--4 weeks later for pyrantel (or Fenbendazole, though the next day would probably be more useful LOL), 8 weeks after ivermectin or 12 weeks after moxidectin. In this manner, you can significantly reduce the parasite load on your pastures in a year's time.

Deworming every 6-8 weeks routinely and rotating products is also not the best way to go. Again, we need to focus on appropriate use of the deworming products we have to help prevent the development of parasite resistance and blindly deworming every 6-8 weeks no matter what product you last used doesn't take into account how long it is until you actually have parasites that are capable of shedding eggs again.

Besides deworming, there are pasture maintenance practices that can help to minimize pasture contamination with parasite larva. Rotating pastures with other types of livestock (cattle, sheep, goats) can allow time for the parasite larva to die off before you put horses back on it but you have to have many months between rotations. Picking up feces at least every 2-3 days will also greatly reduce the parasite load on your pastures. (Doing this daily will keep the amount of feces you have to shovel at one time down ) Dragging pastures to break up feces during the very hot, dry southern summers will also help lower parasite burden on pastures, but if you do it during moderate weather it will only help to spread the larva around.

Whatever deworming information you read, make sure it's up-to-date. Many articles and recommendations are based upon old information and that can lead to wasting money and providing poor parasite control for your horses.

1. How old is your horse?
2. Is she turned out or stalled?
3. If turned out is it a dry lot or pasture? How much acreage?
4. Do you pick up feces out of the turnout every 2-3 days?
5. Are other horses in the pasture too? If so do they get dewormed regularly? What are their ages?
6. Do you have extreme weather---summers over 100 degrees for extended periods or winters below 40 degrees for extended periods?

barefoothooves 05-31-2008 07:34 PM

Ive got mine on a 3 month schedule-two geldings on 5 acres and that's working fine. And I DO rotate my wormers-they are finding resistance starting to form to ivermectin.

sempre_cantando 05-31-2008 07:36 PM

thanks for the info everyone, In answer to Cindy's questions...

1. How old is your horse?
my horse is 8 and my sister's pony is 14

2. Is she turned out or stalled?
they are primarily kept in an outdoor yard

3. If turned out is it a dry lot or pasture? How much acreage?
for about 8 weeks of the year, they are turned out onto pasture for 5 hours a day. There are two small paddocks which we alternate between, one is one acre and the other is half an acre.

4. Do you pick up feces out of the turnout every 2-3 days?
we rarely pick up feces from the turnout because we find they don't do that many in their pasture. Also, they have eaten the pasture down within a few weeks and so they are taken off of it until next year.

5. Are other horses in the pasture too? If so do they get dewormed regularly? What are their ages?
no other horses are in the pasture at anytime

6. Do you have extreme weather---summers over 100 degrees for extended periods or winters below 40 degrees for extended periods?
winters never get below about 5 degrees celcius (41 F) but summers frequently get over 38 (100 F)degrees celcius.

I'm suspecting that we should worm them 6-8 weeks during turnout time of year, but perhaps only every three months during hot summer months. Does anyone agree?

Ryle 05-31-2008 08:12 PM

If they hardly poop in their turnout, it would be a great idea to pick up the's not like it would be terribly hard and it's the feces that stay on pastures for more than a day or so that are the source of infective larva in your pastures. During the hot summer months, I would treat right before the weather gets bad with ivermectin or moxidectin and then run a fecal egg count in 3-4 months to see if you need to deworm again that soon (4 if you used moxidectin). Then during the winter months I would deworm specifically based upon egg reappearance periods to help minimize pasture contamaination during the time of year when the larva will have the best chance of reinfecting your horse.

Barefoothooves, rotating hasn't proven to be useful in preventing the development of drug resistant parasites. But it will very likely lead to heavier parasite contamination in your pastures due to the fact that there is a HIGH incidence of parasite resistance to fenbendazole and a moderate level of resistance to pyrantel. So you are probably not killing strongyles well when you use those two drugs and are allowing a longer period of egg shedding in between dewormings with a drug that is effective. It would be a really good idea for you to run a fecal egg count just before deworming with fenbendazole and then again 2 weeks after to see if you are in one of the very few areas where fenbendazole resistance isn't a problem. And do the same with pyrantel. This way if you aren't one of the rare lucky people who can still get an effective kill with fenbendazole or pyrantel you can re-evaluate your deworming program.

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