Deworming your horse in the fall season is essential as they could have ingested several parasites from the previous grazing season. The common parasites your horse may have by autumn are strongyles, tapeworms, and bots. These equine parasites can cause problems, such as colic, and special attention should be given especially in the fall. Using a broad-spectrum anthelmintic drug like ivermectin (AbIver™) or ivermectin with praziquantel (AbIver Plus™) is the best way to protect your horse from these parasites. Throughout summer, various equine dewormers can be used as part of a strategic horse worming program depending on the results of fecal egg counts, pasture density and its management.
Fecal egg count is an important part of your overall worming program. It helps you come up with an effective program and lets you monitor its progress. The test determines how great in numbers the eggs are in the manure of the horse. A fresh sample of horse manure should be collected and submitted to your veterinarian for analysis. Your veterinarian will perform an evaluation on the egg count and discuss with you the appropriate worming program.
Some horses can shed more parasite eggs compared to others. Those who shed eggs heavily should receive more frequent dewormers during summer, while those who shed lightly can be treated less frequently. Strategic deworming should both involve reducing pasture contamination to slow down the development of parasite resistance to equine dewormers by using them at the right time.
Bots are larvae of bot flies. These flies hover around your horse and deposit their sticky eggs on to the horse’s legs, where they can be ingested when the horse licks his legs. The larvae can migrate to the stomach walls where they attach themselves, and develop to become an irritation. Bot flies are killed upon the first frost of fall. Ivermectin is the only dewormer that effectively targets bots.
Tapeworms should be treated at least once every year since they can cause colic in horses. In the past, double or triple dose of pyrantel based wormers can be used but now, praziquantel is the ideal wormer to be used against tapeworm infestation.
Strongyles or redworms are common parasites that invade your horse’s system and they can bring significant health problems. Different dewormers can target redworms but fenbendazole can eliminate encysted small redworms, which happen to be the most troublesome stage of the parasite. In this case, fecal egg counts are still important in evaluating the efficacy of equine dewormers and in determining if parasites have developed resistance to the drug.
If you horse has not been dewormed for more than a year, or is too young or too old to be dewormed, it is best to consult your local veterinarian. Make sure your horse maintains a good condition as you prepare him for winter. Develop a good horse worming strategy for your horse, together with your veterinarian for the autumn season.