It’s no accident that horse parasites have survived for thousands of years. Numbers alone ensure their continued existence; they also protect themselves in some surprising ways.
- Up to 100 strongyle larvae can be found on a single blade of grass.
- Small strongyle larvae wrap themselves in a protective coating inside the large intestine wall, preventing attacks by the horse's immune system and many deworming medications.
- Adult large strongyles have mouths with sharp teeth used to attach to the wall of the intestine while sucking blood.
- Roundworms can lay hundreds of thousands of eggs each day, each with a sticky protein coating for sticking to just about anything, including stall walls and a dam's hair coat.
- Roundworm eggs have a thick shell and can survive for up to a decade.
- Roundworms target foals and young horses before they develop a natural immunity around the age of two.
- Tapeworms are acquired when horses eat oribatid mites containing tapeworm larvae. Thousands of species live throughout the world with about 7,000 species in the United States - only a handful of those carry the eggs.
- The smallest and most common tapeworm is about a half-inch long; some are about an inch long, and the largest can be about three inches long.
Horsemen’s Laboratory owner Dr. John Byrd has extensive experience with racing and breeding horses. He created Horsemen's Laboratory in 1992 so horse owners could better evaluate their worm control programs and make informed decisions about deworming their horses. To learn more about Horsemen’s Laboratory, parasites, to sign up for the monthly newsletter, and to order fecal egg count testing kits, visit www.horsemenslab.com
Holistic Horse magazine is your guide to natural horse health. www.holistichorse.com