Does anybody out there have any advice for me?  My family has given their horses the same de-wormer for 20 years and I have heard you need to change up the medication once in awhile to prevent the worms from becoming resistant.  I have also heard that if the horse isn't accustomed to a regular schedule for worming that the initial dose should be half the recommended and followed a short time later (half the usual time) with a full dose.  I have only been managing our horses health for a little over a year and have a lot of confusion.  I catch them contradicting themselves around here and its always a 3 hour explanation of every detail associated when I ask anything.  Please help a confused owner.

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Comment by Shirley on February 28, 2012 at 11:40am

Kate, another possible cause of general ill looking horses could be Sand in their gut and there is stuff they can take for this. If they are trying to graze where there is little to eat or are eatting hay off the ground they can ingest too much soil/dirt/sand and it will collect in their gut. Eventually they will likely end up with sand colic, a blockage that can be very serious and expensive to treat. Best to avoid rather then treat after the fact. It is easy to check for sand. You can just put some manure balls in a bucket of water and as it seperates if you';ve got alot of sand, your horse has a problem that needs attention. SmartPac catalog also gives better directions on exactly how to do this.

Comment by Shirley on February 28, 2012 at 11:33am

Kate, Do you get the sales catalog from Smart Pac horse supplies? They have the chart for common rotation advice. The newest thoughts on this that I have heard is to not worm on the rotation plan which has been the way of doing things for quite some time. There is a resistance starting to developement due to over-use of wormers. Many horses that are in closed pastures...same horses together all the time (less chance of infecting each other) don't need to be wormed all the time. If you get the fecal check done and your horses are not routinely exposed to other horses and the check is clear then you don't need to worm at this time. At our boarding barn we do the Equimax or Zimectrin Gold (both full spectrum) in spring and fall. Then we check the horses fecals. Then they use the appropriate wormer on only the horses that actually have worms. The horses that come and go from the barn frequently (shows, trail riding , lessons) are generally kept on the common older method of rotation with the idea they are much more likely to be exposed to new worm infestations from the horses that live away from our barn. Everyone needs to cut back on the over-use of these wormers to slow down the resistance that is developing.

Comment by Kate Green on January 7, 2012 at 12:01am

We are in a fairly temperate environment for winter.  It is unusually warm right now(72degrees today) but it can get bone chilling cold (10 or less for a week last year) at times.  We seem to be in a county that is on the freeze line for when it gets bad. My 5 horses live free range with 9 others.  My sixth horse is fairing better but in a pen that is isolated.  Our pasture is minimal and we feed a 14 percent sweet feed. I am working on getting hay, but it is very costly and hard to get right now.  I will consider the stool samples and testing.  My vet is an equine specialist and has always given me solid advice in the past.

Comment by Marlene Thoms on January 6, 2012 at 1:03am

One other thought I just had. Depending on whether you have winter right now or summer. If it's winter and very cold your horses will drink more (and therefore digest better) if you can possibly get their water warmer, and get a little more salt into them by adding some to feed and offering loose in addition to salt block. I use an insulated water container and add hot water twice a day, which brings it up to a passable temperature, but if it's really cold a water warmer really helps.

Comment by Marlene Thoms on January 5, 2012 at 10:57pm

Maybe you need to take some droppings in for a test by the vet to find out first if worms is the problem and which wormer would be the alternative if ivermectin isn't adequate. What are you feeding, can you get decent hay (I realize this can be difficult in a drought). Some people have success with a small vegetable oil supplement, but you have to be adding and increasing it very gradually over a period of weeks, and you still have to start with a basic adequate diet of grass or alfalfa if you can get it. Although worms seems like the most likely cause, maybe you need a vet to help, could be teeth or even some toxic weeds in the pasture which the horses normally pass up when the pasture is better. Sometimes the grass itself produces not good chemistry if it is suffering from drought and this can cause poor digestion or even laminitis. I hope you can find the right suggestions to help your situation.

Comment by Kate Green on January 5, 2012 at 7:50pm

Thank you Marlene.  I have been using Ivermectricin, but have added a different active ingredient paste to get the worms we have been missing.  Our horses are not in the best condition right now. We have been with out decent pasture thanks to our drought here.  Grazing it very minimal. I feed and feed, but no change.  They are ribby to skinny and have bloated abdomens. I am doing my best for learning on the fly.  I read somewhere (years ago) that when they havn't been wormed in awhile, you can do a every two weeks rotation for 6 weeks then step back to normal intervals. All suggestions are welcome.  I am just reaching out for thoughts and I just want them healthier.  Thank you.

Comment by Marlene Thoms on January 5, 2012 at 3:59pm

 I'm not sure what wormer they've been using but there are some pretty good modern ones that are idiot proof (meaning they work for me). I use a premixed combo which includes ivermectin (generally works well for most worms) and something else for the ones ivermectin misses. The name escapes me. The information you have posted is pretty good, so you don't sound confused. I think the caution about halving the dose applies more to horses who are in really poor condition, so may have a heavy worm load which you don't want to let loose all in one go, but you want to get them again later to be sure you've got them all. After that just try to be regular about it. I think the usual interval is around every two to three months, but that might depend on your climate, how crowded the herd is,how well you are rotating animals on the pasture etc. which also keeps down the parasite load. Some people swear by changing the wormer, others don't. As with all advice for horse management you get five different opinions if you ask four different people.

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