Lungworms are internal parasites that affect the respiratory tract.
Actually, they are parasites commonly found in donkeys. However, horses can be a host, too, but these equine parasites are unlikely to proliferate. However, that does not stop the parasites from causing health problems to your horse.Lungworms are usually not a big threat to your horse, unless if your herd is kept with donkeys. They are equine parasites that are quite large in size. They can group up to 8 cm in length. It’s surprising that they are able to bring problems to your horse’s lungs.
As horses graze pasture, they can ingest infective lungworm larvae. The larvae travel to the horse’s lungs in less than a week, and within months, they are capable of laying eggs. Lungworm infestation causes the horse to cough, since it irritates the respiratory tract. Once the horse coughs, the eggs wind up in the windpipe. This does not mean that the worms are trying to find their way out through the mouth. This only means that they find their way to the throat when the horse coughs, and from there, they will be swallowed and transported to the intestinal tract and then exit via the manure. Lungworm eggs are capable of re-infecting horses in just a short period of time like 5 days, given that the environmental conditions are conducive for their development.
Donkeys and Horses as a grazing partner
As with most equine parasites, serious problems only arise when the worm burden becomes uncontrollable; however, such a case is rare in horses. If your horse is suffering from a persistent cough or a chest problem, it may be caused by a worm infestation but then again, other factors may contribute to such symptoms, as well. If donkeys are closely linked to your farm or share pasture with your horses, it may be advisable to consult your veterinarian regarding lungworm infestation. However, there are other causes of cough that your horse might experience other than a lungworm problem.
The good news is that lungworms are easily treated compared to other equine parasites. The best way to control lungworm infestation is to use ivermectin-based equine dewormers like AbIver™. Apart from that, it helps to observe preventive measures to minimize lungworm problems. It should be recommended not to allow donkeys to graze with horses.