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Top Tips for Horse Worm Control

Effective worm control relies on the correct and responsible use of horse wormers combined with good pasture management.

Wormer Use

Follow these tips to ensure responsible wormer use:

  • Use faecal worm egg counts (FWEC) during the spring, summer and autumn to assess which horses need worming. Generally horses with a worm egg count of greater than 200 eggs/g should be treated but individual advice should be sought from your vet.
  • Target the following worms at the correct time of year with an effective wormer: Encysted Redworm Larvae - late autumn and late winter; Bots - winter; Tapeworm - spring and autumn.
  • Worm all horses and ponies at the same time with the same product.
  • Use the correct dose: the recommended dosage will vary according to the horse’s weight. Estimate weight as accurately as possible using scales or a weigh tape.
  • Don’t rely on the blanket use of the same wormer: this may encourage the development of drug resistance in the parasite population.
  • Rotate the active ingredient for each grazing season: select one product type and use for the entire grazing season, then switch to another active ingredient for the next year.

Manage your pasture

It is important to regularly remove droppings from the field
It is important to regularly remove droppings from the field

A well-managed pasture will help to reduce the worm burden. The following points should be followed where possible:

  • Remove droppings on a regular basis (preferably daily, but at least twice a week) and don’t use horse manure as fertiliser.
  • Don’t overstock pastures: a maximum of two horses per hectare or 1-1.5 acres per horse is recommended.
  • Graze horses of a similar age together – young horses are more susceptible to a higher worm burden.
  • Sub-divide grazing areas into smaller paddocks and graze on a rotational basis.
  • Harrow pasture during dry conditions to expose soil-borne larvae so that they dry out and die.
  • Graze paddocks with other livestock too. This will dilute the horse worm burden on your pasture.