Healthy Horse Hints: Tapeworms and Oribatid Mites
Worms are part of nature. A healthy horse can and will carry a small load of worms naturally. Heavy worm infestation is a risk to your horse! Your best defense is a HEALTHY HORSE.
Tapeworms (Anaoplocephala perfoliata or A. magna) are tough to eliminate. Find out what tapeworms are common where you live through your veterinarian. He/she will tell you if they are a problem in your area, as well as what products work well for treatment for your horse. Your feed store can also tell you what they sell for tapeworms, but make CERTAIN the products are for horses! DO NOT USE a product that does not specify safe use with horses!
There are really no visible effects if an infection is light. Digestive disruption and general poor condition of your horse will result in heavier infections, but generally a heavy infestation is rare.
Once ingested, some tapeworms may be released in the bowel whereas others mature in 6-10 weeks and adults attach near the ilio-cecal valve. In worse cases the A. perfoliata tapeworm is known to cause perforation and severe ulceration of the cecum.
The Oribatid mite, naturally present in pastures, on hay, in wood and forests, etc., is the necessary intermediate host of tapeworms. Mites are heavier between spring and autumn. Tapeworm eggs eaten by oribatid mites on pasture develop over 2-4 months, then your horse ingests them while grazing in the pasture. This is a natural occurrence, as is the presence of other parasites constantly in your horse’s environment. Tapeworm eggs may be passed in the horse’s manure which fuels the cycle.
When vitality is low there is a metabolic imbalance and your horse is a welcoming host for parasites to thrive.
• Strive to assist in keeping a healthy immune system.
• Consider feeding pumpkin seeds and raw garlic (or supplemental such as Equilite’s Garli+C)
• Top off feed with rosehips tea (naturally high in iron and Vit.C) to support the blood, kidneys, liver, adrenals, circulation and immune
• Review appropriate herbal supports for each body system.
• If needed, use a wormer to combat tapeworms and other parasites. (Note: Homeopathics are likely not effective when worming for tapeworms)
• Apply DE to the ground and on manure or areas where manure has been.
• Rotate grazing, maintain a chemical free environment, pick up or plow manure regularly, and rotate in other livestock to break worm life cycles
There is a long traditional history of using natural supports to combat worms. In the end, a healthy horse and a clean fecal test are really all one needs to know you are on the right course!
Here’s to Your Horse’s Good Health!