Spring Worm Management

Spring GrazingSpring is the time of the year we recommend all horses receive a moxidectin based de-worming treatment, contained in Equest® Plus or Ultramox™. Moxidectin is the only product that helps to treat all stages of the Cyathastome or redworm and is also the only product to-date with no documented resistance in New Zealand against redworm.  Redworm is the major disease causing worm in horses in New Zealand.

It has a complicated lifecycle and is associated with diarrhoea, weight loss, colic and is life threatening if left untreated.  The juvenile redworm form cysts within the bowel wall and often enter a state of arrested development over winter.  Certain environmental conditions can trigger the larvae to be released from these cysts en masse.  Spring pasture conditions, using a de-wormer that only treats adult redworm or general stress can trigger this mass release.

We are seeing a large number of redworm cases at present which may be attributed to the drought of late summer.

Using a faecal egg count (FEC) is usually a very useful tool for decision-making around whether your horse requires a de-worming treatment or not.  A limitation of the FEC with redworm diagnosis is that it may return a negative result until the worms reach adult egg laying age. In these cases we perform faecal laboratory testing to detect the juvenile larvae itself.  Blood testing is also used to help indicate an active infection.

Throughout summer and autumn we recommend a combination de-wormer such as Triumph™, Equitak Excel™ or Strategy T.  These products do not help treat the encysted juvenile redworm but are good options for helping minimise drench resistance development on your property. We advise when to use these products based on FEC results. 

At Franklin Vets we have developed the Equiworm-rite programme that helps take the guess work out of worming programmes for your horses. 

This programme:

  • reduces drench resistance on your property

  • protects your horses against worm related disease with evidence based advice

  • Ultimately saves you money on worming products by using the right product at the right time.

Research has shown that 50% of horses should only be de-wormed twice a year!  These horses have naturally high immunity against worms themselves.  By identifying horses as having individual de-worming requirements rather than blanket treating every horse at set intervals we will start to address the very serious problem of drench resistance in New Zealand.  We can identify individual horse de-worming requirements with strategic FEC monitoring.

Please contact us for advice on setting up the Equiworm-rite programme on your property.