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I'm not into regular deworming and it's been a while since I last dewormed. I was curious as to what my horse's shed count was at so I had it tested and it came back with 40 per gram small strongyle. The vet said I should deworm but from what I've read online 40/g is a low shed count. What do you think?

Here's where I was getting info about shed counts:
Cleary Lake Vet Hospital - Equine Deworming 11.2013
 

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My horses are always 'zero' - now that doesn't mean they have no worms because its a count done on one small part of a poo which is one small part of all the poo's they do in a day/week/month
It is a reasonable thing to work on though as a horse with a heavy worm burden would be continuously shedding
I still worm twice a year to cover for tapeworm, bots and encysted worms that won't show up on a fecal count and along with pasture management
 

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As a general rule, horses that aren't shedding high numbers (or even moderate numbers) aren't recommended to be dewormed. However, if you have not performed a spring deworming yet to also treat for bot flies and tapeworms then you should deworm with either an ivermectin/praziquantel or moxidectin/praziquantel product.
 

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I would certainly worm her if it is small red worms like you say they are nasty ******s that can be encysted as we learned the hard way this Christmas my filly had a worm count of zero but still almost died from encysted red worm and she was wormed for in the past and our herd has never had them before so I would worm her and ivermectin doesn't kill encysted ones.
 

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rbarlo32, I'm sorry to hear about your horse.

Small strongyles do encyst and the nasty part about them is that it's the deworming that may cause a mass emergence of the larval stages of this parasite from the intestinal wall which causes severe inflammation and can be deadly. The larval stages emerge when the numbers of adult parasites in the intestine drop. We can't count the numbers of encysted parasites, but when a horse is dewormed appropriately then he numbers are controlled. Proper management of pastures also helps to control the numbers of the parasites.

Appropriate deworming is really the best preventative for this sort of issue. The use of ivermectin or moxidectin at least twice a year at the appropriate times will minimize the risk of mass emergence of small strongyle larva. But we do have to be very cautious not to just give dewormers. They need to be given when appropriate so that we don't increase the resistance issue. Dosing needs to be done with the right drug at the right time and in the right amount.

It's really unlikely that your horses never had these parasites before as they are widespread and actually the most common intestinal parasite of adult horses.
"Virtually all grazing horses are infected with cyathostomins(small strongyles also called small red worms)."--Eva Osterman Lind
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health
Division of Parasitology and Virology
Uppsala
 

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We've honestly never had them before we've had almost all our ponies since they were weenlings they only issue we've had with worms before are round worms in a foal from one of the few adult horses we've bought in the other was kept in quarantine for a long time as he had flu which my ponies have no immunity too as we don't have it on this island. Vicky didn't even have many worms maybe 15 or so and the amount of times she's been wormed there shouldn't be any left. There is one drug that kills them in their encysted stage so before they can migrate and cause damage it also happens to be the brand of worker we have always used so I can pretty much guarantee that before this mare I brought in to train came we didn't have small red worms or any type of red worms, just the round ones the or time and the foal was too young to worm anyway. Oh and our fields hadn't been grazed on my horses for a few years before we bought them and we have sheep which helps control horse parasites as well
 
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