Worms are part of nature; a healthy horse can and will carry a small load of worms naturally. Your best defense against a heavy worm infestation 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 for use with horses.”
If an infestation is light, visible effects maybe hard to detect. Once ingested, some tapeworms may be released in the bowel, whereas others mature in 6-10 weeks with adults attaching near the ilio-cecal valve. In worse cases the A. perfoliata tapeworm is known to cause perforation and severe ulceration of the cecum.
The Orbatid mite, naturally present in pastures, on hay, in wood and forests, is the necessary intermediate host of tapeworms. Mites are heavier during summer. Tapeworm eggs eaten by orbatid mites develop over 2-4 months, then your horse ingests them while grazing in the pasture. This is a natural occurrence. Tapeworm eggs may be passed in the horse’s manure which fuels the cycle.
When vitality is low, a metabolic imbalance in your horse creates a prime environment for parasites to thrive. Assist your horse in keeping a healthy immune system. Consider feeding pumpkin seeds, raw garlic (or garlic supplements), and top off feed with rosehips tea (naturally high in iron and Vit.C) to support the blood, kidneys, liver, adrenals, circulation and immune system. Review appropriate herbal supports for each body system. If needed, use a wormer to combat tapeworms and other parasites.
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, if possible, rotate in other livestock to break worm life cycles.
There is a long history of using natural supports for worms, yet a lack of scientific evidence. In the end, a healthy horse and a clean fecal test are really all you need to know you are on the right course.
Here's to Your Horse's Good Health!
Shari Frederick, Healthy Horse Hints
Q: Why is my Horse Rubbing her Tail?
My mare is constantly rubbing/scratching her butt in the stall. Being in a stall every night is new for her (she has been at this barn just 3 months). The horses are let out in a beautiful pasture all day, brought into stalls late afternoon at feeding time. I have had the vet check for worms/parasites and that is not the cause. Is this just boredom in the stall?
A: Your mare is fretting being confined at night. She much prefers being out in the open to confined in a stall. Rubbing her butt is her equivalent to pacing or weaving. Being in the stall puts her under quite a bit of stress all night. Holistic vets have suggested things like flower essences to help with emotional stress. The best answer is to provide her the kind of space she prefers.
-- Animal Communicator Joy Turner, www.TalkWithYourAnimals.com