Worming & Wormers
(From Clare's article archives, Circa 2010-2015)
Usually worming once every 2-3 months, and rotating the kind of wormer you use (in general, Zimectrin vs. Strongid type wormers will target all the different kinds of worms), should do the trick.
Most wormers are in a paste form, and are injected orally.
Occasionally, worms can be a bigger problem then that.
Consult your vet if a 'power pack' (7 days of strong worming) is needed to kill any existing adult worms in your horse's gut.
Your vet can also trouble shoot for what might be causing your horse's ailments.
They can do a fecal exam as well, which is simply examining a sample of your horse's poo to prove if there are indeed any worms or parasites in it.
Having adult worms is bad and can lead to colic, coat and generalized physical deterioration of a horse.
Having said that; horses that are in pasture situations, especially with other horses, are most susceptible to worm problems.
Horses in pasture should always be on the same worming schedule of rotating wormers every 8-12 weeks.
Horses in stall, paddock, and daily turnout situations usually have much less issues with worms, especially since their living areas are cleaned daily.
Even so, a paste wormer given every other month or so, with rotating types of wormers, is definitely recommended.
You don't have to panic if you miss one occasionally, just give it when you remember, and then continue every 2-3 months after that.
How much wormer to administer:
With a paste wormer, first dial the plunger back to the approximate weight of the horse.
You can measure your horse's weight with a weight tape, which you wrap around the horse's girth, like a measuring tape you wrap around your waist to check your waist size.
You should be able to get a weight tape from any tack store, catalog, or feed store.
I usually just do a best guess estimate.
A relatively refined 15.0 to 15.2hh horse is about 800lbs.
15.3 to 16.0hh is about 1000 lbs.
A big 17.0 to 17.2hh warmblood is about 1500 lbs.
And my really big 18hh draft cross horses are probably about 1800 lbs.
Unless it is a giant full draft, you probably won't run across a horse any heavier than this.
***Did you know?***
When we joke around about a Draft Horse 'weighing a ton," it is often true.
A ton is actually the equivalent of 2000 pounds.
And that is the official weight of most of the big Draft Horses (Clydesdale, Belgian, Shire, etc.)
Also the average weight of the massive Bucking Bulls you see in the rodeos and the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).
Interesting, don't you think?
You can find wormers usually in 1000, 1250, or 1500 lbs. maximums.
To be completely frank, every vet I have ever known has recommended that you give any horse under 1000 lbs the full 1000 lbs wormer.
I don't think it can hurt them, but always consult with your vet if you have any concerns or doubts.
To administer the wormer:
I stand on the left side of the horse.
Simply slip the wormer deep into the corner of the mouth, as far back on the tongue as possible, and depress the plunger.
Then, using your hands under your horse's chin, firmly lift his head up.
This will encourage him to swallow the wormer, and not to spit it out.
Some horses are tricky, and with these you sometimes have to wait until you actually see them swallow, before you lower their heads.
Some horses could care a less about being wormed, and don't even need you to put on a halter to do it.
Others will put up quite a fight.
Please call me for advice or help with working with these more difficult individuals; I can help to make it less combative and a more positive and less stressful experience for you and your equine companion.