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Deworming horses that have not been dewormed in years???? (NOT Mine)

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  • Deworming horses that have not been dewormed in years???? (NOT Mine)

    Went to a new friend's house to a glass of wine the other night. We went out to see her horses. She is an admittedly naive, new horse owner, but has had vet out semi annually for vaccines and annual coggins. She asked why one of the horses was loosing hair in patches. I asked when was last time she dewormed and with what. She didn't know what I was talking about...said has never dewormed in the 2 + years she's had them. 3 horses that are on a postage stamp size paddock with no pasture management.
    When I explained parasites, parasite control/management she asked why her Vet had never told her.
    I know deworming any horse esp. elderly horses that may be riddled with parasites can be dangerous, and considering that her vet sees these horses and think they look okay....what would be her best way to get these poor guys on the right path without doing possible further injury?
    She wants to do what is right and openly asked for advice, I just don't want cause her horses to colic. Thanks in advance for sound advice.

  • #2
    I would advise her to talk to her vet. He/she may want to do a fecal egg count first to see how big of an infestation they might have. He/she may recommend starting with a partial dose of something, to kill some but not most of the parasite burden at first, and the prescribe a follow-up plan.
    I bought a young mare out of a very bad situation many years ago. Despite her care was in good flesh and had a decent coat and I didn't think twice about deworming her straight away. Her manure was solid worms! HUGE bots everywhere *gack*. Thankfully she showed no ill effects, but I'm mentioning that as an anecdote that a big infestation doesn't always reflect on the outside.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


    • #3
      I agree about her seeing a Vet first. Back in the 80's, I heard of a mare who had not been wormed regularly that bled out internally when given a full dose of wormer.

      I would hate for that to happen to your friend's horses.
      When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


      • #4
        Definitely have a FEC done, though I'm not holding my breath the vet will know how to do one if he never mentioned deworming to a new horse owner

        But start there. If the vet is all "nah, don't need that", then go through Horseman's Lab - about $18 last I knew.

        If things are sky high, like 1000 or more, then start with a *full* dose of Safeguard (fenbendazole), and then 2 weeks later do Equimax. That's just where I'd start to get a handle on things.

        If things are below.....let's say 600 or so then I'd head straight to Equimax.

        12 weeks after the Equimax, do another FEC. If it's high (greater than 200) then use Quest. If it's clean/low, then do a FEC around the end of Summer. If it's over 200, go with plain ivermectin, then after a good freeze, Equimax. If it's low, wait for the freeze and do Equimax.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          What I would NOT do is deworm on a Friday or Saturday. A mass kill off could result in an impaction or other complications. I think she should talk to a good equine veterinarian about the best practices for this.

          If it were me and I got a horse who had not been dewormed or checked in years, I'd start with a fecal and see what I was dealing with. It might be that there's not much going on. Or there is. If there was a very high parasite load, I'd probably be looking to do very targeted deworming and not necessarily broad spectrum just to avoid the impaction issues. But I'm not a vet....
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6

            Try not to go broad spectrum if either 1) there is no FEC but there is a known lack of deworming history, or 2) there is a very high count.

            There are 2 chemicals - fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate - which have a wide enough, high enough resistance issue that using one of them will known down a partial load pretty safely, then you can come back with a broad spectrum and kill the rest.

            What you DO NOT want to do is give a partial dose of anything - that just kills the very very weakest ones at best, and sets up a resistance issue at worst and most likely.
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


            • #7
              Yes- I'd start with a Strongid Paste (pyrantel pamoate). Then follow up with an Equimax 4 weeks later. Obviously, the vet is the first person to ask- but I don't hold out much hope for hers.


              • #8
                Assuming you know about parasites, I'm going to guess your vet is equally versed. Why not suggest your vet for a parasite consultation (only). She is not an experienced horse person, let the vet take the responsibility, as he should be able to handle any side effects that crop up, she would not know to look for.