The best way to worm your horses this Autumn
Horse owners look forward to the benefits of Autumn weather, perfect sunny days with a cool relief to ride, making the most of the last of daylight evenings and enjoying competition season. However, the less exciting part of the season is that it is a crucial time to worm your horses.
In the current conditions Australian horse paddocks are full of worm larvae and their eggs, waiting for the chance to infest your horses. Depending on the type of worm and how many are present, worm infestations have the potential to cause serious concerns such as weight loss, ill thrift, poor condition, diarrhoea, constipation, colic and even death. It is vital for your horses’ health to keep them safe from these parasites.
Why worm in Autumn?
Internal parasites do not thrive and multiply in unconducive environments such as very hot or extremely cold weather. Worms prefer moderate temperatures between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius, as well as moist conditions.
All horse owners living in tropical or coastal regions usually experience longer intervals of parasite activity in their paddocks due to high humidity and temperate conditions. However, on average most regions in Australia encounter an increase in parasites from March through to the end of May.
What type of worms are most common?
Bots and pinworms are especially common in Autumn weather. Adult Bot flies lay their eggs on horses in late summer and these eggs mature into larvae in Autumn. They will remain in the stomach to grow over Winter unless treated effectively. However, pinworms lay their eggs around the anal and perineal region (under the tail) and are very itchy for horses. The eggs can persist in the stable, on grooming tools, fence posts and in the environment for long periods of time.
How do I know if my horse has worms?
The best way to determine if your horse may have worms or not is to conduct a Faecal Egg Count (FEC) at least once a year. Doing this in Spring or Autumn will make sure that you have gauged the number of worm eggs in a peak time. Therefore, you will know how susceptible your horses are to the worm eggs on your pasture.
High shedding horses can require worming more often than low shedders, who may only need preventative treatment once or twice a year. If having a FEC performed for your horses is not an option, the next best thing to do is worm regularly throughout the year using combination actives that provide protection from seasonally active parasites.