The season of sunshine, showers and lighter nights is finally on its way; the tantalising signs of spring in the air are a welcome sight for any horse owner after what seems to have been an endless winter! It’s enough to cheer the soul even if it does bring with it the joys of mass moulting and with the warm wet weather the rising risk of parasite infection.
High counts for redworm
Unfortunately the milder weather, however good for us, should raise alarm bells for our worming as parasites will also be enjoying the respite. In one week in early March 2017 nearly 20% of horses tested returned high worm counts of over 1,200epg for redworm with a significant number of these over 3,000.
This is a much higher incidence than usually seen. Regular temperatures over six degrees Celsius, low levels of UV light and wet ground are the probable culprits. Couple this with a lifecycle of around 5-6 weeks and a redworm challenge can quickly take hold within a horse to become a problem.
If you gave the suggested winter dose for the possibility of encysted redworm then now is the time to resume the regular testing programme. Don't delay your worm counts this Spring to make sure you're on top of any potential problems.
We’re also advised to consider tapeworm in Spring and Autumn. If you’ve haven’t done any testing or treatment in the last 6 months then this would be recommended, our preference always being to test first. Target tapeworm with an EquiSal saliva test to determine whether you need to dose or not; only 23% of horses tested for tapeworm actually need a wormer for it!
The other parasite to keep an eye out for is the perennial pinworm problem which has also been prevalent this spring – perhaps because horses are kept in closer confinement over the winter and so are more likely to reinfect themselves from where they rub.
Watch for signs of tail rubbling or discomfort, a sticky substance around the anus or bean sprout type worms appearing in the droppings. Check with an adhesive tape test if you suspect a problem.
Mares & Foals
If you’re expecting foals on the ground this year congratulations! Foals and youngstock require much more proactive treatment than older horses, you can find our handy guide for worming mares and foals here.
Stay vigilant this Spring and if you need any help with your worming then please contact our friendly team for free, veterinary approved advice.
The simplest way to organise your routine tests for the year is with our great value 4Count PLUS pack – a handy season pack containing everything you need for four worm counts and two EquiSal tests.
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