If you take care of a horse or pony, you should be deworming her regularly. Worms may be tiny, but they can be deadly to a horse. They can make her lose tons of weight, cause blockages in her intestines and make her prone to painful colic attacks. A horse that is infested with worms will look skinny and her coat will be dull.
Twenty-five years ago, deworming was quite a project. The vet had to stick a rubber hose up your horse’s nose and use a pump (that looked a lot like a bike pump!) to suck liquid dewormer from a bucket and pump it to your horse’s stomach.
Nowadays it’s so much easier--grab a syringe and plunge away! Tear a box open and mix deworming pellets in your horse’s food!
Deworming is simple. Anyone who takes care of a horse can do it. You’ve got no excuse—your horse should be dewormed every other month.
And to make it really easy to remember when you last dewormed your horse, we’ve come up with a handy cut-out-and-keep chart you can post in your tack room which tells you when you last dewormed your horse and what kind of dewomer you gave her. It’s up to you to read the label on the box to see what kind of worms you’re killing.
OK, we’re done lecturing you about the importance of deworming! Now for some fun. It’s your chance to prove to us how much you know about deworming your favorite horse or pony. It’s time to take our deworming quiz.
1. What sort of worms live in a horse’s large and small intestines and in her rectum? These worms can irritate a horse’s dock area and cause her to rub her tail.
2. What type of worms can cause lung damage in horses? Hint: they are also called ascarids.
3. What kind of fly lays the tiny yellow eggs that stick to your horse’s coat?
a. Horse fly
b. Bot fly
4. What type of worms can destroy artery walls and blood vessels? They can impair your horse’s circulation and cause colic, anemia, diarrhea, fever and brain damage? Hint: they are also called bloodworms.
a. Large strongyles
c. Liver worms
5. These worms don’t usually affect older horses, but they can cause weight loss and diarrhea in foals.
a. Small strongyles
b. Blood worms
6. What kind of dewormer comes in a syringe?
a. Paste or gel
7. What should you do about bot eggs on your horse’s coat?
a. Ignore them. They’re harmless.
b. Wash them off with “De-Bot Shampoo.”
c. Scrape them off with a bot knife, block or razor.
8. When should you deworm your horse?
a. Whenever you feel like it.
b. Every other month or at least four times a year.
c. Once a year
9. What can be a sign of a “wormy” horse?
a. A shiny coat
b. Lots of energy
c. A pot belly
10. What does “rotation” mean in relation to deworming?
a. Deworm your horse every other year.
b. Use different types of dewormer at different times of year.
c. Put your horse in a different field every other month.
11. How do you decide how much dewormer to give your horse?
a. It depends on her weight.
b. It depends on her age.
c. It depends on whether she’s pregnant or not.
12. How can you help prevent worms spreading in your horse’s field?
a. Teach your horse to poop in one corner of the field.
b. Pick up manure piles with a pitchfork and remove them from the field.
c. Take your horse out of the field for a few hours every day.
13. What can worms do to a foal?
a. They can make her hyper.
b. They can make her eat too much food.
c. They can stunt her growth.
14. If you deworm your horse, should you deworm the other horses in her field?
a. No. Worms can’t spread from horse to horse.
b. Yes! Dewomers are much more effective if all the horses in a field are dewormed together.
c. No. Everyone can just deworm their horses when they like.
15. Should you deworm a new horse before turning her out in a field with your other horses?
a. Yes. You don’t want her spreading worms to your regularly-dewormed horses.
b. No. Her old owners probably dewormed her sometimes.
c. No. The dewormer will have no effect on the worms that live in your field.
Check your answers on page 24 of the Marc/April issue of Young Rider.