Safe-Guard paste is used as a wormer for horses. Gastrointestinal equine parasites can be very dangerous along with the many myths associated with horse deworming. It can be a little confusing and sometimes overwhelming to completely understand the impact of intestinal worms, the most common of equine diseases. Horses typically get worms when turned out with previously infected horses or when they are turned out in a contaminated pasture. In both situations, it is highly likely the horse will become infected, as well. A pasture can stay infected for a considerable amount of time so always keep the threat of horse worms in mind.
Strongyle infection is one of the most common and it occurs by ingestion of the larvae, which begin their transformation into parasites as they travel down the animal’s intestine. It can cause damage in the cranial mesenteric artery, eventually causing colic, gangrenous enteritis, or intestinal stasis and possibly rupture. The other two species are active blood feeders that can lead to anemia, weakness, emaciation and diarrhea. While a horse may appear to be in good health, it still can be infected with worms. Common signs of parasite infection in both younger and older horses include, lethargy, loss of weight, diarrhea, colic, lack of appetite and dull coat.
The best method of knowing whether or not a horse has worms is to have your vet perform a fecal egg count and blood test. These tests confirm the species of parasite; provide an idea of how many adult worms are in the intestine; and give an estimate on how badly your pasture is infested. The blood test measures chemicals in the blood produced by inflammatory responses to the migration of the larvae.
Veterinarians recommend worming your horse every two months. However, there is a debate about the effectiveness of repeated use of the same wormers. Before beginning a worming schedule, it is good to have a serious discussion with your vet about the best possible worming schedule for your horse.