To help prevent worm infection, managing your paddocks is key. Here are five pasture dos and don’ts…

    1. DON’T overstock paddocks with too many horses.
    2. DO poo pick at least twice a week to help reduce the source of the infection.
    3. DO co-graze horses with sheep or cattle — they ingest worm larvae, so will act as biological vacuum cleaners. Equine worms don’t develop into adults in sheep and cattle, so this will drastically reduce contamination.
    4. DO rotate pasture and rest fields regularly.
    5. DO keep young horses grazing separately from older horses. Young horses are likely to have the highest parasite burdens and be responsible for the majority of pasture contamination.

Signs your horse has worms

The symptoms of a parasite infection in horses can vary depending on the type of worm involved and the number of worms infecting the horse. Many parasite infections will have no symptoms when the parasite burden is low, but a high number of worms can cause symptoms and will seriously affect your horse’s health.

Being on the lookout and treating issues early will hopefully prevent serious health problems developing.

Some of the symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anaemia
  • Dull demeanour
  • Poor appetite
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Colic
  • Staring coat
  • Under-par performance
  • Patches of hair loss or sore skin
  • Parasites in droppings
  • Horse rubbing his bottom continually
  • Respiratory problems such as nasal discharge and a cough
  • Poor growth in foals

If you are concerned that your horse may have a worm burden, or if you have any questions about worming, speak to your vet.

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