Deworming your horse

Horse deworming

Deworming your horse/horses seems like it should be a simple and straightforward job.  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. It is bad to treat too often as we can encourage resistant worms, but it is equally as bad to treat too little as horses can end up with ill thrift, colic, diarrhoea or even death.

No one plan fits all. Each horse and property will require a different plan. As we are already seeing resistance to all medications used to deworm our horses, the plan we are using will need to change and adapt as conditions on your property and with your horses change.

This type of plan should involve an initial farm visit or phone consult. A visit or consult will allow your veterinarian to get a deworming treatment history, discuss pasture management practices and discuss each horse or group of horses’ individual needs. Faecal Egg Counts will be an important tool used to make a plan for your horses as well as to monitor for any changes to resistance on your property. Your plan will need to be monitored as the environmental conditions and animals on your property change.

Pasture management is a very important part of a deworming plan and can include picking up manure, rotational grazing, holding paddocks out for hay and resting paddocks. Harrowing is not recommended as it spreads the worm eggs all over the paddocks.

Timed and targeted deworming is important as well.  This means using specific products at certain times of the year.

A few key points:

  • There are worms resistant to all deworming medications in New Zealand
  • Faecal Egg Counts (FEC) are essential in monitoring how your plan is working
  • Pasture Management techniques are an important part of your deworming plan
  • Targeted treatments (time and type of product) are important.

Franklin Vets would like to help you with your deworming plan. Our plans include the following:

  • Phone consult/questionnaire or an on-farm visit
  • Faecal Egg Counts (FEC) of individual horses or 20% of a group
  • Deworming recommendation given
  • FEC timing set
  • Pasture management recommendations
  • Owners/Horses on a veterinarian-made programme will receive discounts on FEC and dewormers.

Dr Kara Watson DVM


Franklin Vets

Franklin Vets - excellence in veterinary care for dairy, farming, lifestyle, equine and household pets. BESTPRACTICE ACCREDITED NZ.