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Discussion Starter #1
So looking at my horse, I'm not sure if he is just obese from not being able to ride him and being fed a lunch because of the weather or if he is wormy. I have some pictures, but they're not with me right now. He gets rotational worming every 6 weeks, but he has a big gut on him right now.

Would you recommend getting a fecal test done first or should I just boost the worming as if he is wormy and if not, it won't be a big deal? I've heard that can cause issues, but I've also heard the opposite...what's your thoughts?

If I go the worming route, what plan do most of you guys use?
 

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I assume your talking about a hay belly My weanling has the biggest belly Ive seen on a baby. He was even thought to have worms when we got him, so the vet gave us everything to treat him. He still looks the same. I've given him 3 regular wormer rotations since then. I am going to talk to my vet about it tonight, since hes coming out to do shots.

I use equimax for the first and last frost or early spring, pyrantel twice a year and something else twice (anthelicide i think). I talked to my vet about rotations and he told me as long as you rotate and use equimax/zimectrin gold at the start of winter you should be fine. I worm every other month without a problem.
 

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If this horse is over 1 year of age, it is highly unlikely that a big belly is due to parasite load. This is more commonly seen in immature horses who are still susceptible to ascarids which can get quite large and cause extremely heavy infestation. If this is an adult horse, you are likely deworming way more than necessary as well as deworming at inappropriate intervals with the drugs you are using. Please see my other posts on new recommendations for deworming.

In adult horses, obesity and pot-bellied appearance is more likely from simple overfeeding and underworking.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. Yes, I was talking about a hay belly. Most of his body is fine--lacking in muscles, but he's got this big belly that looks like he's pregnant!
My vet and I set up his worming schedule when I was working over there...but knowing now what I do about her equine knowledge, I wouldn't be surprised if I should get a new schedule set up.

You're probably right. Under worked and Overfed is certainly him right now unfortunately. He's so easy to put weight on that the new lunches are probably just making him fatten up.

Ryle, I will check out your posts! Thanks :)
 

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You could tell if he was wormy, because if he was he would be scratching his Bum all the time? But it couldn't hurt to maybe get a fecal sample, to be on the good side, My pony has the hay belly, I just cut down on the feed, but we have a lot of grass so maybe put your horse in a littler paddock?
 

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You could tell if he was wormy, because if he was he would be scratching his Bum all the time? But it couldn't hurt to maybe get a fecal sample, to be on the good side, My pony has the hay belly, I just cut down on the feed, but we have a lot of grass so maybe put your horse in a littler paddock?
... :-|



I would get a fecal,they don't cost much and that way you know for sure what to worm for.
 

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A fecal sample isn't a bad idea. It definitely won't hurt anything.

If the horse was dewormed with an ivermectin or moxidectin dewormer after the temps dropped below 45 degrees then parasites are even more unlikely to be the problem as OP is in the season when they have the very lowest reinfection rates of the year due to environmental factors.
 

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Sometimes horses rub their tails and hind, sometimes they dont. But if I see a tail being rubed I always look at my wormer rotation and get a fecal first.
 

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The kinds of parasites that cause tail rubbing aren't likely to show up on a regular fecal examination. This is because the reason that they cause itching is that the female worm crawls out of the horse's anus to stick her eggs to the skin around the anus. She doesn't just shed her eggs in the GI tract like ascarids and strongyles which are diagnosed via fecal examinations.
 

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Pinworms can cause itching of the area around the anus. Tapeworms don't cause itching.

Some things that you should always check when you have a horse that is scratching it's rear are: the skin/hair around the anus and on the tail for signs of external parasites and either the sheath or between the teets for buildup of debris/dirt that can cause itching.

It is imperative that we start using dewormers as needed not "just because we think we might need to". The resistance issue with common dewormers is widespread and is only going to continue to worsen. There are too many issues with strongyles developing resistance to 2 of the 4 most commonly used dewormers on the market---fenbendazole (more than 90% of areas tested have resistant strongyles) and pyrantel (around 1/2 of areas tested have strongyles resistant to this drug). And resistance is starting to be seen in strongyles to ivermectin---1st study showing it was done in KY in the last couple of years. And ascarids are showing resistance to ivermectin and pyrantel. And resistance to moxidectin won't be far behind because it is in the same family as ivermectin and their similarities will allow resistance to it to develop more quickly than if there hadn't been a similar drug in use for 15 years.

For 40 years now, veterinarians have recommended that horses be dewormed every 8 weeks all year round and rotation of dewormers has been recommended for nearly that long. This is considered by many vets and horse owners to be “the recipe” for adequate and appropriate deworming of horses. However when you look at the research that has been done in the last 15 years you really have to question this practice. “’The recipe’ no longer represents an acceptable program for strongyle control” according to Dr. Craig R. Reinemayer, DVM, PhD of East Tennessee Clinical Research, Inc during a webinar presented via www.thehorse.com. This means that deworming recommendations for adult horses need to be reconsidered because strongyles are the only significant nematode pathogen of mature horses. Continuing to use the same old deworming program will likely lead to heavily parasitized horses and further drug resistance. Instead, each horse and each situation should be evaluated to determine the reinfection rates and an appropriate deworming program for the individual.

It's now known that all adult horses living in the same situation do not necessarily need to be dewormed on the same schedule. 50% of horses in a herd will control parasite loads on their own due to natural resistance. Only about 20-30% of horses carry heavy parasite loads.
Thus each horse should be dewormed based upon an understanding of his own personal resistance to parasites. The best recommendation is now 2-4 dewormings a year based upon knowing which horses carry lots of parasites and which tend to carry little parasite load.

Rotational deworming is no longer an adequate or appropriate deworming program for adult horses. There are too many issues with strongyles developing resistance to 2 of the 4 most commonly used dewormers on the market---fenbendazole (more than 90% of areas tested have resistant strongyles) and pyrantel (around 1/2 of areas tested have strongyles resistant to this drug). And resistance is starting to be seen in strongyles to ivermectin---1st study showing it was done in KY in the last couple of years.

All adult horses in the continental US/Canada should be dewormed spring and fall with ivermectin/praziquantel or moxidectin/praziquantel. Other than those 2 standard dewormings, the rest of the deworming program should be based upon location and the horse's own resistance to parasites. The new recommendation is 2-4 dewormings per year based upon fecal egg counts used to determine the normal amount of egg shedding each horse does during the time of year when the weather in your area is most conducive to strongyle larva development and environmental survival. In the northern states in the US and in Canada, this means running a fecal egg count in the middle of summer (3 months after spring dosing if you used ivermectin or 4 months after spring dosing if you used ivermectin). In the southern US and Mexico you would be looking at testing in the middle of the winter (same time after spring deworming as listed above). Then based upon the number of eggs per gram of feces you can determine if you need more than the spring/fall dewormings and if so if you need 1 or 2 more dosings.

In the northern US and Canada, deworming should be discontinued during the winter months because the environmental conditions are not conducive to reinfection---that time of year has been proven to have extremely low reinfection rates. In the southern US and Mexico the opposit is true....deworming can be discontinued during the heat of summer because temps over 85 degrees lead to the infective strongyle larva dying quickly in the environment so the reinfection rates are lowest then.

For more detailed information check out the deworming webinar that was aired via The Horse magazine's website in April. Be prepared to sit for a while because it is an hour long presentation, but it's well worth the time. The veterinarian gives you all the information on strongyles and deworming in adult horses that you've always wanted to know and then some. It is a wonderful lecture. (And have plenty of paper and a pen.) http://www.thehorse.com/Video.aspx?vID=1…
(Craig R. Reinemeyer, DVM PhD --parasitologist)
 

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^^ So I should deworm fall and spring. And then do a fecal count a few months after the spring round? What wormer is suggested? I usually have equimax and pyrantel as a staple at the barn.

One summer I didnt worm my mare, probably from april to august and I did an fecal count before taking her to school with me. She didnt have anything, at least the lab said she didnt. Is one test conclusive enough for fecal samples or should they be performing a few different test (on the same sample) to find different species of worms??
 

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Yes, you should do your base deworming in spring and fall with an ivermectin or moxidectin product. Then in the summer, 3 months after your spring deworming if you used ivermectin or 4 months after your spring deworming if you used moxidectin, you should have a fecal egg count run on your mare to determine if she is a heavy, moderate or light egg shedder. Based off of a single fecal egg count, you can plan your deworming program to use for the future unless something changes in your horse's managment such as going into a pasture with very young horses or moving to a different climate.

If your horse is kept stalled or in a paddock where feces are picked up regularly, you likely don't need to deworm more than twice a year. Even for many horses that are kept in pastures that aren't picked regularly deworming twice a year is often all that is necessary due to their own natural resistance to parasites.

If your horse has moderate numbers of eggs in a gram of feces (between 200 and 500 eggs per gram) then you would want to deworm once during the summer months with ivermectin or moxidectin or pyrantel. If the number is higher than 500 then you want to deworm twice during the summer months. The link that I posted above to the webinar has diagrams for exactly when and with what you would want to do your summer dewormings.
 
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