Why do we have the need to keep our horses on a strict regimented worming program? Because there are constant infestations of parasites surrounding horses. Probably, the first encounter dealing with parasites (worms) that I can remember, would be taking a sharp instrument and scraping the yellow bot eggs off of horses. This was and is an endless job, but an important one. From the time foals are born, parasites are an issue. There are no de-worming medicines on the market that will keep your horse one hundred percent worm free. However, the products that are available, with a strict regiment of worming using certain products at certain times of the year followed religiously, will keep your horses almost worm free.
There are many horse worming products on the market today that have made the job of worming horses a fairly easy and inexpensive one. I could list the many types of parasites and what season is the best time to use a particular product. Unfortunately, as in training and feeding horses, there are many different opinions on when to worm, using which product at what time of the year and so on. The market pertaining to horse wormers has become more sophisticated and new products are continuously introduced. My suggestion would be to check either with your local feed or tack store, as it is their business to keep up with all the latest and newest products on the market, or confer with your local veterinarian.
Grazing horses are constantly being bombarded with parasite infestations. Before introducing any new horse into a field of horses, that horse should be wormed with a Strongyles worming product, checked for bot eggs on their body that need to be removed, and be kept out of the pasture for at least two to three days. One wormy horse will infest all the other horses in the field. As that horse makes manure, the parasites are spread throughout the pasture, even if you have just wormed your horses previous to the introduction of the new horse. I personally have always liked worming my pasture horses once a month, using a succession of different types of wormers depending on the time of year.
As a general rule, you can identify horses that have worms because they have a poor appearance, regardless of the amount of food they consume, because you basically are feeding the worms. These parasites not only rob your horse of the essential nutrients necessary for a healthy survival, the worms also will do long term damage internally. Wormy horses will usually have a poor quality to their coat, long dry looking hair, large bloated bellies and their ribs will be showing and a lot of their weight will not be on their backs as it should be. Once a worming program is implemented, the transformation will astound you and in a few months your horse will look completely different, especially if you are grooming him or her on a regular basis. If you have purchased what you believe is a very heavily infested horse, under the care and instruction of a veterinarian, you may want to consider a “power pack”. This wormer comes in a package of five wormers, one each day for five days. Try to worm your horse the same time of the day on all five days. You may want to feed your horse less grain on these five days only as a precaution as severely wormy horses may experience some stomach distress. So if you choose the power pack, you must keep your horse away from the other horses for at least one week as a courtesy to them. Never give your horse wormer medication right after riding them and they are still a little warm from the exercise. Colic is a high risk if you ignore this warning.
Staying on a program to keep your horse from the dangers of parasites is an act of love which, in time, you will gladly adhere to. And as time goes on, you will come up with a worming program that you believe in, as you will learn, understand and see the differences in your horses.