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Useful worming information?

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  • Useful worming information?

    Due to the amount of worm threads, I thought a sticky might save some time.

    I am not a vet or a professional relating to this subject, this is simply what I have learned from my personal research.
    So as a result of having read about horse parasites from several different sources and still not being sure, I thought this might be a short cut for others. One of the problems in trying to come up with a worming program is the seemingly conflicting information. Many sites/information list the worming drugs intended use (what they should kill), and not the actual effectiveness. The difference being increasing resistance. I would encourage anyone trying to make up a worming plan not to ignore the issues associated with resistance, not just in accounting for widespread resistance but in creating your own. Once the worms on your farm, barn, horse are resistant they will be forever, and it is not difficult to create. Plus, there are not that many de-worming agents to switch too, in many cases there is only one or two effective drugs available to start with.

    The four major drug classes with some product examples:

    1. macrocyclic lactones (ivermectin -Zimecterin, Eqvalan and Equimectrin), (moxidectin-Quest, must be careful of doseage and not for horses under 6 months old)

    2.benzimidazoles (fenbendazole-Panacur/Safe Guard), (oxibendazole-Anthelcide EQ)

    3.tetrahydropyrimidines (pyrantel pamoate,-Strongid and Exodus), (pyrantel tartrate -Strongid C, Strongyle, Equi Aid)

    4.prazino-isoquinolines (praziquantel -Zimecterin Gold and Equimax, this drug is mainly for tapeworms).

    These are worms that are discussed the most, there are many others;

    Large Strongyles (bloodworms or redworms)
    benzimidazoles kills adults, Power Pak kills migrating stages
    macrocyclic lactones both adult and migrating
    tetrahydropyrimidines adults, some resistance

    Small Strongyles (cyathostomes)
    benzimidazoles -Power Pak for encysted larva only,
    macrocyclic lactones -kills adults, moxidectin kills larva and adult
    tetrahydropyrimidines -About 50% resistance reported

    Ascarids (large roundworms)
    Benzimidazoles-double dose (in foals and horses under 18 months)
    macrocyclic lactones -resistance reported, used as a larvicidal

    Neck Threadworms (Onchocerca cervicalis)
    Ivermectin-kills the microfilariea
    Double douse of Equimax, apparently kills the adults (if you have 10hrs read this )

    macrocyclic lactones
    tetrahydropyrimidines some resistance


    macrocyclic lactones

    Ivermectin -the mare 24 hrs after foaling. Or the foal in the first month. Most horses over the age of 6 months have a natural immunity.

    So what I learned,

    Only 20 to 30% of horses are very susceptible to worms. 70-80% of horses range from having moderate to high natural resistance to worms. Horses that have a high natural resistance to worms have a recommended twice a year worming program, spring and fall. Moderate, 3 times a year spring, fall and your prime worm season (winter in the south and summer in the north NA). For my horses, in Canada, I can use Zimecterin Gold in fall after the first freeze, Quest or Power Pak in spring and Ivermictin in mid summer, to cover everything. Small strongyles are the biggest concern due to their life cycle and their ability to cyst for up to 2 years in the horse. Large strongyles are easy to control or even eradicate and the rest are seasonal or are generally not a threat to an adult horse as well as being covered by the program.

    Foals have different worming requirements till they are about 18 months old. This is one case where every 4 to 6 weeks is necessary. My area has an ascarid resistance to Ivermectin, as I read in The Horse, primarily due to 30 day programs. So to catch everything I must rotate Ivermectin and Panacur (Strongid is also has resistance due to the local TB industry and over worming).

    To find out if your horses is naturally resistant do fecals. They are most effective in identifying small strongyles which are the hardest to control. Some areas are more prone to certain types of parasites then others.

    Life Cycles and Effects (directly quoted from this page)

    Large Strongyles (bloodworms or redworms)
    Life Cycle: Start out as eggs, which hatch into larvae that are consumed by horses as they graze or drink infected water. The larvae mature in the intestinal tract. One type (Strongylus vulgaris or bloodworm) migrates into the blood vessels of the intestines. Their entire life cycle takes about 6 to 7 months. The other two types (Strongylus edentatus and Strongylus equines) migrate into the liver. Their entire life cycle takes about 8 to 11 months.
    Effects: Heavy bloodworm infestation can cause severe or even fatal colic or blood vessel ruptures that lead to extensive blood loss. Other large strongyles cause less severe damage. Other signs include weight loss, anemia, or colic.

    Small Strongyles
    Life Cycle: Similar to large strongyles. Start out as eggs, develop into infective larvae which are ingested by the horse, and travel into the intestinal tract. However, instead of migrating into other body parts, small strongyle larvae burrow (or encyst in) the wall of the large colon. Here they can stay for months or years before the proper conditions trigger them to emerge. While encysted, small strongyles - which usually are the most damaging of internal parasites - are resistant to most dewormers
    Effects: If large numbers of larvae emerge at once, they can cause severe health problems, including diarrhea, weakness, muscle wasting, and colic

    Ascarids (large roundworms)
    Life Cycle: Horses become infected with roundworms by swallowing the eggs in contaminated hay or water. In the stomach, the eggs develop into larvae which migrate to the liver and the heart and to the lungs, where they are coughed up and swallowed. Once back in the stomach, they develop into egg-laying adults. The life cycle takes about three months.
    Effects: Most damage occurs as roundworms migrate through the body. They cause coughing, pneumonia, liver damage, diarrhea, and colic. Large numbers of adult roundworms can cause intestinal blockage or rupture. Other signs include unthriftiness, pot belly, rough hair coat, and slow growth

    Life Cycle: Mostly a concern in foals, larvae are ingested in the mare's milk or by threadworm larvae present in the bedding, which can penetrate the foal's skin. The larvae migrate through the lungs and small intestine. The life cycle takes only about 2 weeks.
    Effects: The main concern from threadworms is diarrhea.

    Neck Threadworms (Onchocerca cervicalis)
    Life Cycle: The adult worms of this parasite live in the nuchal ligament, a very thick, elastic ligament that runs along the horse's neck between the withers and the poll. Larvae from these adults migrate to the skin. The larvae are eventually ingested by insects, especially the Culicoides gnat.
    Effects: Larvae burrowed into the skin can cause inflammation so intense that some horses will scratch and roll until the skin is red and the hair is rubbed off. Usually the irritation is in the skin of the forelegs, chest, eyelids, and withers, and along the middle of the belly.

    Life Cycle: Female pinworms lay their eggs in the skin around the horse's anus where they are often rubbed off onto the ground. They are then eaten by a horse and the life cycle repeats.
    Effects: The egg masses are extremely itchy. Horses with pinworm infections will sometimes rub their tails until all the hair is pulled off. Adult pinworms (about 1-3/4 inches long) may be seen around the anal area, along with a clear discharge (the egg masses). Most adult horses do not have issue with pinworms.

    Life Cycle: Similar to tapeworms in dogs, cats, and humans, equine tapeworms require an intermediate host to mature. Tapeworm eggs are ingested by a tiny mite called the orabatid mite that lives on the grass in pastures. Horses ingest the mites (and the tapeworm eggs inside the mites) while they graze. Inside the horse, the tapeworm eggs mature in 6-10 weeks into adult tapeworms that attach to the intestinal lining, where they absorb nutrients. Packets of eggs break off from the tapeworm and are passed out in the horse's feces, where they are ingested by pasture mites and the cycle starts again
    Effects: Tapeworm infestations can lead to colic, rough hair coat, slow growth, and other conditions due to nutrient deficiencies. In addition, heavy tapeworm infestation is considered to be a significant cause of colic.

    Life Cycle: Adult bot flies deposit their eggs on horses' forelegs and shoulders, or around the jaws and lips. When the larvae hatch, they move into the mouth where they burrow into the tissues of the gums and the tongue to develop further. Eventually, they move into the tissues of the stomach and intestines, where they live for up to 12 months before passing out of the horse in the manure and developing into adult bot flies in the soil. However, cold weather kills bot flies.
    Effects: Although bots can cause damage to the tissue of the horse's mouth and intestinal tract, most horses do not show signs of serious diseases from bots. However, very large numbers of bots have been associated with gastric ulcers.

    Sources: General worm article - American Veterinary Medical Association General worm article – North Dakota State University Age-Related Parasites: Scourges of Foals and Young Horses Horse Wormers – Alpha Horse Choosing Wormers – The Horse Parasite Resistance: 10 Things to Remember– The Horse and Resistance article – The Horse Principles of Deworming Small Strongyle resistance in Canada Cyathostomes resistant to benzimidazoles and in some cases pyrantel
    Doc thesis on Strongyle Thread worms Ascarids –The Horse article Ascarid article

    The Horse Webinars (Highly recommend the first one) Deworming Your Horse Strategic Deworming foal care calendar generator
    Last edited by stoicfish; Dec. 12, 2009, 12:08 PM.
  • Original Poster

    Not useful, correct?


    • #3

      You went to a ton of trouble and I'm sure there are many COTHers out there who appreciate it. I personally think it deserves a sticky so we don't lose it. I'm somewhat overwhelmed by all the different info out there...or I should say on the board. I think you did a great job

      I hope other people take the time to read this!


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Invite View Post
        You went to a ton of trouble and I'm sure there are many COTHers out there who appreciate it. I personally think it deserves a sticky so we don't lose it. I'm somewhat overwhelmed by all the different info out there...or I should say on the board. I think you did a great job

        I hope other people take the time to read this!
        Thank-you so much. I read through many posts and articles and found conflicting info, so I did this for my own education and because I have a foal this year and wanted to make sure I got it right. Thought I would share to save others some time. Many people have given me great tips on this board!
        If there is any information that is not correct or needs to be added I hope people chime in.


        • #5
          Originally posted by stoicfish View Post
          Thank-you so much. I read through many posts and articles and found conflicting info, so I did this for my own education and because I have a foal this year and wanted to make sure I got it right. Thought I would share to save others some time. Many people have given me great tips on this board!
          If there is any information that is not correct or needs to be added I hope people chime in.
          add it to the sticky above and then post on my helpful links pages on the dressage at the bottom which are a sticky on dressage forum


          • #6
            Does anyone have any other information on the topic they'd like to add? Stoicfish, please add a link to this thread in the Horse Care FAQ sticky if you haven't done so already, then after folks have had a chance to weigh in with any additional input, we'd be happy to move this thread over to the Reference section so it isn't inadvertantly deleted down the road.

            Please send me a reminder after any additional posting dies down to move it over.

            Thanks for your efforts!
            Mod 1


            • #7

              Came across this thread while searching for info on deworming. This is exactly what I was looking for! What a great post! Bumping, hopefully others will chime in and it will get added to the reference forum!
              LFC...Pass it on!!
              PRESTO: Foolsih Miracle x Salute the Truth