Deworming Horses: How to do it correctly

Praziquantel, Febantel, Pyrantel, Ivermectin or Moxidectin? The question mark is getting bigger and bigger? Don’t worry, we’ll help you out!

What does worm infestation mean?

Worms belong to the so-called endoparasites. In other words, they attack the body from the inside. There are three main groups that affect horses: Roundworms, Tapeworms and Gastric Woodlice.

Regular deworming is part of preventive health care and maintenance in horses. If this is done, a potential worm infestation can be minimized. But when and how are horses best dewormed? These are exactly the questions we want to answer today. 

But first we would like to show you how the HorseAnalytics App can help. You can see the structure of the App on the following screens. Here you can organize and manage all appointments and barn routines, no matter if it’s a vet appointment, the deworming, the farrier or feeding schedule. Deworm your horse in the best possible way and keep it healthywith HorseAnalytics.

Simply download the app from App Store or Play Store and try it out right away! Just click on the corresponding button below.

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A parasite-free horse. Is that possible?

Straight away – the answer is No.

There is no such thing as a completely worm-free horse. An infestation with parasites cannot be avoided. However, a certain level of worm infestation is useful to strengthen the horse’s immune system as a healthy horse usually has no problems with a low parasite infestation and thus keeps the body’s defense mechanism on its toes.

Therefore, parasite control – in this case deworming – is not primarily aimed at completely eradicating worms, but at reducing the infestation to a tolerable level and keeping it to a minimum in order to prevent renewed disease and damage. Incidentally, complete eradication is almost impossible: the development cycles of the parasites are well adapted to those of the horses and their habitats, and re-infection is difficult to prevent. In itself, this would not be a big deal if it weren’t for resistance.

But what’s the best way of deworming horses?

Adult horses are given between two and four worming treatments per year. As a rule, parasites are active in all four seasons, but especially in spring and autumn. But now the question is which kind of dewormer to give, as it completely depends on the season.

In spring it makes sense to focus on roundworms, in the summer on roundworms and tapeworms, and in autumn on stomach borers.

The common way of deworming is to treat all horses with the same medication on the same day. But since parasites are getting resistant against those treatments the individualized approach can be a better way to avoid this. 

So, there are two different concepts of deworming. The strategic- and individual deworming.

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Strategic deworming

Deworming can be approached by deworming the horse 4 times a year as standard. This is how most stables handle it – little effort and the entire stock at once. However, this also has disadvantages, and here we come back to the resistance issue.

Over time, parasites can develop resistance to the ingredients of the worming treatments, so that the effect of the treatment is rather low. Since more and more resistances have been detected, the form of selective deworming is getting popular for good reason. In order to avoid resistance in parasites, it is extremely important to regularly change the active ingredients of the deworming medications. Groups of active ingredients should therefore be replaced every year.

Individualized deworming

Individualized deworming involves more effort because fecal samples of the horse must be regularly sent to the veterinarian or laboratory. There, the samples are going to be examined and the deworm medication is tailored to the horse’s worm infestation.

If we now look at a complete horse population, fecal samples must be taken from all horses at the same time and sent in. This procedure is carried out over several months. The positive thing here is that you only give the horse a worming treatment if there is a parasitic infestation. So no chemicals end up in your horse when it is not necessary and therefore the risk of parasites getting resistant is minimized.

Tips & Advice

Whether strategic or selective, each horse owner must decide individually on behalf of his horses – but deworming alone is not enough.

Stables, fields and paddocks should be thoroughly cleaned each day. Especially after treatment with a dewormer, parasitic infestations can result in large amounts of eggs, larvae and worms being found in the horse’s feces. So, to prevent a new infection or the infection of other horses, it is recommended to be especially thorough in cleaning the above mentioned places. If you take good care of the stable, paddock and pasture, the parasites have less of a chance.

How do you handle the deworming of your horses? Strategically or individualized?

Do you put your horse’s health first, too?

Download the HorseAnalytics app now!  Click on the button below to get to Google Play Store or App Store. 


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