Horse Wormers: Daily Dewormers vs. Paste Dewormers

What is the difference between pellets & paste wormer. Is one better than the other. I have problems giving my horses the paste. And was looking into giving them the pellet form with their food. CJ, Florida

Dear CJ,

While I believe some companies still make pelleted “purge” dewormers, I think you’re asking about the difference between daily dewormers (which come in pellets) and paste dewormers. The good news is that, depending on your horse’s situation, you may actually be able to do a better job of protecting him from parasites with a daily dewormer. The bad news is that you’ll still have to paste him twice a year to control those species of parasites that the daily dewormer doesn’t.

To be clear, daily dewormer comes in a pellet form and is designed to be fed every day to prevent internal parasites from taking hold in your horse. Paste dewormer comes in a tube and is given once every 30 to 90 days, depending on the active ingredient. Paste dewormers are designed to “purge” a horse of parasites and using them is known as rotational deworming.

A dewormer that is fed every day kills parasites before they have a chance to damage vital organs. By preventing worms from migrating through the gut wall, blood vessels, liver and other tissues, problems like weight loss, diarrhea, colic and other serious health conditions may be avoided.

However, before starting a horse on a daily dewormer, he should be “purged” of any larval and adult stages of worms he may already have using a paste dewormer that contains ivermectin or moxidectin. In addition, horses should be given ivermectin or moxidectin once or twice each year to control bots, as well as praziquantal or other effective ingredient once or twice a year to control tapeworms.

So while switching to a daily dewormer doesn’t completely absolve you from using paste dewormers, it’ll sure cut down on the number of times per year you’ll have to fight with your horse to get a tube in!

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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