Pasture Management for Worm Control 

A well managed pasture will help to reduce the worm burden which the herd is exposed to.

The following should be done where possible:

  • Remove droppings on a regular basis (preferably daily, but at least twice a week) and don’t use horse manure as fertiliser.
  • Don’t overstock pastures: a maximum of two horses per hectare or 1-1.5 acres per horse is recommended.
  • Graze horses of a similar age together – young horses are more susceptible to a higher worm burden i.e. don’t mix young and old horses.
  • Sub-divide grazing areas into smaller paddocks and graze on a rotational basis.
  • Harrow pasture during dry conditions to expose soil-borne larvae so that they dry out and die.
  • Worm new arrivals for all species of worm including encysted stages of small strongyles (red worm) and stable for 48 hours before turnout onto your pasture. Equest Pramox is the best wormer for this purpose.

Summary of ‘need to know’:

  • Use Faecal Worm Egg Counts (FWEC) during the Spring, Summer and Autumn to assess which horses need worming. Treat any horse with a worm egg count >200 eggs/gram.
  • Target the following worms at the correct time of year with a wormer effective at killing them:
  • Encysted redworm larvae - winter
  • Tapeworm - spring and autumn.
  • Worm all horses and ponies at the same time with the same product.
  • Use the correct dose: the recommended dosage will vary according to the horse’s weight. Estimate weight as accurately as possible using a weighbridge or a weigh tape. Under dosing your horse with a wormer can contribute to wormer resistance issues.
  • Maintain a programme of good pasture management: regularly remove droppings, worm and stable new arrivals before turnout.
  • Don’t rely on the blanket use of the same wormer: this may encourage the development of drug resistance in the parasite population.
  • Rotate the active ingredient for each grazing season: select one product type and use for the entire grazing season.

For more information on worming please contact Central Equine Vets: 0131 664 5606.

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