Demystifying feed through daily dewormers

Demystifying feed through daily dewormers

Would it be overdosing my horses if I gave them a daily dose of dewormer “Strongid C” every morning with their feed, and still do a rotation de-worming paste every other month? – JN, Indiana

Dear JN,


Your New Year’s Resolution should be reading up on current deworming practices as described in the recently published AAEP Parasite Control Guidelines (AAEP stands for American Association of Equine Practitioners). In fact, this would be a great document to sit down and go through with your veterinarian, so that you both are on the same page when it comes to protecting your horses and your facility from parasites.

Yes, I said “your facility,” because one of the best ways to ensure our individual horses don’t have too large a worm burden is to ensure they’re not actively picking up infective eggs and larvae from the environment and starting the worm cycle all over again. Removing manure on a regular basis from stalls, paddocks, and pastures is one way to achieve this, another is to identify the high egg shedders on your farm and deworm them more frequently than the low egg shedders.

Fecal egg counts are the tool needed here, and you can either provide your veterinarian’s staff with a few fecal balls or send manure through the mail to a reputable laboratory (SmartPak sells a kit for just this purpose). Depending on the number of horses you care for, how they’re housed, and other risk factors, the low shedders may only need paste deworming twice a year: at the beginning and end of the grazing season in your area. High shedders should be dewormed at the egg reappearance period for whatever product you used:

Daily dewormer may be a great choice for you, as it prevents large strongyle infection and suppresses small strongyle accumulation (and controls roundworms in young horses), but it should be used strategically in your whole parasite control program with your veterinarian’s advice.

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

Posted in Ask the Vet, Basic Health Care

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4 comments on “Demystifying feed through daily dewormers
  1. In the age before the modern dewormers, copper sulphate was used to treat parasites in livestock. It worked somewhat well, but was toxic to the animals, so people stopped using it when safer products became available.We use diatomaceous as a natural wormer for all our horses and dogs.

  2. Very glad I have found this blog. I wish all horses/riders a great and safe 2014 yr.

  3. Charline Brand says:

    I don’t understand the 4-6-8-12 thing. If you rotate your wormers, say, in that order, are you supposed to do them at that interval?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Charline, Thanks for your question. IF you still rotate dewormers (although that’s fallen out of favor) then yes, you would choose 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks as your intervals if you’re giving benzimidazole, pyrantel, ivermectin, then moxidectin pastes. But the better thing to do (better for your horse, better for the barn, better for the environment) is to work with your veterinarian and use fecals to find out if your horse is a low, moderate, or high shedder and then deworm only as often as needed (with a product that still works in your area). – Dr. Lydia Gray

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