Practice common sense: anyone can use a computer...so follow up and rely on personal contacts or scientific documentation to verify some of the rumors. You might be surprised to learn the outcome of drug companies' clinical studies, as well as consumer complaints on record.
HHH: Today's horses are experiencing extremely adverse side effects to chemical wormers at an alarming rate!
Ranging from mild to severe, stress reactions within one hour of chemical worming may include:
Loss of control resulting in the horse dropping to the ground
Tongue hanging from mouth accompanied by drooling
Puffy lips and tongue
Noticeably red gum burns
Various gut disturbances Skin reactions vary, but include hives followed by bald patches. Most visibleproblems appear to subside within an hour.
HHH: Chemical deworming, especially over-worming, can damage the immune system of your horse.
Life threatening internal damage can result from worm infestation, yet regularly compromising your horse's immune system can be more harmful than the worms. Drugs and chemicals are breeding stronger enemies and can lead to toxicity. Often parasite-infested horses are the ones who are dewormed most frequently! They are less likely to fend off parasites as time goes on because they can't build their owndefenses. Interestingly, the practice of regular deworming didn't begin until the 1960s. In the 1980s worming was only an occasional support.
HHH: Safely target all species of worms. Implement rotation of chemicals to target a different worm species.
If you're not rotating, you're not targeting all of the worms. Changing brands IS NOT rotating. Read the label to identify the chemicals used in your wormer; then alternate with another chemical (featured in another product) which targets "other" worm sources. Worms that survive one chemical assault may be taken care of by the next product.
HHH: When choosing chemical wormers, rotate among three different families of drugs:
1. Strongyles - benzimidazoles from oxfendazole, oxibendazole, or fenbendazole
2. Strongyles and bots - Macrocyclic lactones from Ivermectin or moxidectin
3. Ascarids and Strongyles - Pyrantel salts from pyrantel pamoate or pyrantel tartrate Consult your veterinarian for the best rotation for your horses.
HHH: Chemical wormers alter your horse's intestinal environment.
Use a probiotic one week before and after worming to maintain healthy bacteria, and administer wormers with feed to minimize gut issues. Chemical wormers contain neurotoxins that target various worms. For more optimum results target both the adult worm and larvae. Any class of anthelmintic (medication causing the evacuation of specific worms), once resistant to a de-wormer, will indefinitely be ineffective.
HHH: Toxicity levels of wormers are continually being raised to cope with resistant worms:
Raising toxicity levels in wormers hastens the development of worm resistance and exposes horses to unnecessary toxic chemicals.
Synthetic wormers actually poison worms and protozoa, and at the same time overstress the liver and kidneys, forced to filter the poisons. Long-term exposure to these toxins can actually shut down organs! The greater the toxicity levels of chemical wormers, the greater the risk of overdosing.
HHH: Fecal test every three months.
Worms may go undetected because they are rarely seen in the manure. If you have the lab count the number and types of parasite eggs, the degree of infestation can be determined. A false negative (a zero egg count) can result if the parasites are not actively releasing eggs or are in the small intestine, liver, heart or lungs (migrating through the body). The worms may be too sick to lay eggs, but not die. Smaller species' eggs might even be broken down by digestion. Some may simply continue to migrate through tissues until they finally die. The encysted stages of a small red worm will not show up on a fecal test. Regular re-testing will more accurately determine worm presence, as will clinical signs.
HHH: Better safe than sorry???
Not every horse in the barn needs worming at the same time. Each horse needs to be tested. Variance in worm testing within a herd is the perfect example of how routine chemical worming can be an unnecessary toxic burden on horses.
HHH: "We are feeding a small amount of poison to our horses every time we use synthetic wormers," states Mickey Young, equine naturopathic practitioner.
Mr. Young is quick to point out a wormer is not needed by all horses nor on a regular basis. At least 98% of the horses he sees have kidney and liver problems he relates directly to the use of synthetics, chemicals and improper food. Years ago Mickey's father used fresh field tobacco for worming. When tobacco companies added preservatives during the drying process, his dad looked for a natural alternative. Mickey's mother, a qualified naturopath, developed a line of herbal remedies that later became Silver Lining Herbal products.
HHH: Non-toxic, natural dewormers and herbs are biodegradable and often assist in repelling external parasites .
Herbs that are successfully used for their worming properties:
Black walnut (avoid walnut shavings for bedding)
The essential oil lavender, a parasiticidal, is known to help combat parasites.
As an advocate of natural worming, I feed raw garlic daily (when available), rotate a small herd on large acreage, and hand select professional formulas developed by qualified practitioners for accurate and appropriate deworming protocols.
Address deworming on an individual horse basis. Consider the age and health of the horse, feed quality, activity level, travel and susceptibility to worms, environment (stalled or pastured), size of pasture, grazing time, commingling with other animals, manure management and so forth. Don't be locked into only chemicals or just natural alternatives. Take the time to know what possible side effects may come fromadministering drugs or any natural alternatives you select. Approve the safety and history of a formula before administering it and never compromise your standards by accepting unpredictable detrimental side effects. Your animal's quality of life depends on it.