Saying goodbye to summer means we’re leaving the hot, dry weather behind and saying hello to the wetter conditions of autumn. While this will bring some relief for our horses, the change in weather provides an ideal environment for gastrointestinal parasites.
Just think, when the grass is growing so will the worms (well, they will be laying eggs, anyways!). So, does this mean all horses should be wormed?
Best worming practice relies on the results of faecal egg counts (FECs) to identify horses that are low shedders (200 eggs per gram), moderate shedders (200-500 eggs per gram) and high shedders (>500 eggs per gram). Horses that are low shedders have a better natural immunity to worms and therefore don’t need to be wormed as frequently throughout the year.
Worming based on FECs will help to combat the emerging resistance problem we have to deworming drugs in Australia. Remember, it is now recognised that 20% of horses carry 80% of the worm burden. Despite this, it is best to treat all horses with Kelato’s Evolve broad-spectrum wormer than contains Ivermectin and Praziquantel in late autumn . This will ensure that bots and tapeworms are targeted at a time when horses are unlikely to be reinfested. There is no point in using a “Mectin” wormer in summer when bots are at the fly stage of their lifecycle and not present in the horse’s gut to be susceptible to the wormer.
Don’t forget, FECs and chemical drenches should be integrated with good pasture management and husbandry practices to reduce the risk of parasite transmission.