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Posted on Apr 8, 2016 in Articles, Veterinary

Worming from Thomason and Ritchie Vets

Worming from Thomason and Ritchie Vets


As we start the new year it is important to ensure that your equid is not going to infect your spring/summer pastures with worms, therefore we are recommending that at this time you consider either worming or doing a faecal worm egg count.

There are 3 main forms of worms that regularly are found in the intestine/faeces of equids, these are roundworm, tapeworm, and red worm.


It is now considered good practice to endeavour to not routinely worm horses using medication if it is possible to check their burden and reduce environmental burden/infestation rate. Using our new SMART worming programme this allows us to do a worm egg count which will check for roundworm and exfoliated redworm burden. We can then recommend worming if the infestation is high enough, with a relevant drug, and monitor this for you accordingly.

Worm egg counts do not currently show tapeworm burden and it is necessary to have blood test, or recently there is a salivary sample test but this is yet to have a high clinical evidence basis to demonstrate reliable usage. Currently it is advised that an equid has a tapeworm wormer once a year, normally in autumn/winter time, to ensure burden is kept to a minimum. This is important as a high tapeworm burden can lead to severe impaction colics.

Encysted red worms are also not found in worm egg counts, so in young or at risk horses an appropriate wormer is often administered to be sure none are present, as these can lay dormant for a number of years, drain the horse of valuable nutrients and effect growth and development as a result. If a high burden is present, when the horse is wormed there is a high risk of colic due to trauma caused by the exfoliation of the larvae from the intestinal wall. There is also a risk of anaemia, diarrhoea, and other gastro-intestinal upset if the burden becomes severe enough. red worms in horses

After worming it is important to ensure that the equids are kept in a stable for 24-48 hours so that the faeces can be monitored and also to ensure that if any worms or eggs are released in the faeces that they are not put straight onto pasture to reinfect the animals in the future.

Poo picking of pastures is vitally important to ensure reduced or eliminating worm burden on pastures and therefore the likelihood of worming being required is reduced. This should be done a minimum of 3 times a week, but ideally every day. Cross grazing with other animals such as sheep or cattle is also very helpful to not only rest pastures from equine usage but also to reduce the worm burden as these animals digest equine worms rather than putting them back on the pasture.worming

If your horse or pony shares a paddock with a donkey, or you have donkeys on their own, but you must ensure that they are wormed routinely for lungworm, a minimum of once a year, and again pasture management and poo picking is vital in reducing this risk.

Finally, should your animals need regular worming it is most important that you rotate the drugs used to worm on a yearly basis. This is to reduce the likelihood of resistant developing by the varying types of worms to the drugs commonly used in wormers.

To get information on what is in the wormers used you can either check the side of the box, or contact the practice for further information and guidance on 01270 766455 or


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