No tapeworms!

Your horse acts as a host for many internal parasites, including fly larvae (bots), roundworm and tapeworm
Issue date 24 August 2007

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Your horse acts as a host for many internal parasites, including fly larvae (bots), roundworm and tapeworm. Until now, vets thought that the equine tapeworm did not cause disease in horses. However, recent research has shown that this is not so, and it is essential to eliminate tapeworm. T here are three tapeworm species that infect horses: Anoplocephala perfoliata, Anoplocephala magna and Anoplocephala mamillana. It is estimated that 69% of horses are infected, with A. perfoliata being the most common.

In the past, tapeworms could only be reliably diagnosed if they were seen in surgery or in a post mortem. They are also detected by the presence of small eggs in the faeces. A blood test known as Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique is available in the UK. R esearch shows a very definite link between high levels of tapeworm infestation and certain types of colic. The reason is the site at which the tapeworm attaches. first area is where the large and small intestine narrow naturally and the presence of the worms reduces this gap even further. second site is on the intestine wall at the spot where a “pacemaker” controls normal gut contractions which propel the food down the intestine. large number of tapeworm attachments causes inflammation and ultimately affects the pacemaker, causing gut contractions to become uncoordinated.

The risk of disease is related to the degree of infestation, treatment should focus on high loads in susceptible animals. reatment of tapeworms is difficult, but deworming products containing Praziquantel do help. Deworming every six months gives effective control of all three tapeworm species. here are a number of herbs that kill worms in the gut, such as tansy, rue, wormwood, aloe and male fern.

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Every two months, make a strong infusion of these five herbs and squirt it down your horse’s throat every evening for 10 days. Do not give rue, aloe or wormwood to pregnant mares, as they are muscle stimulants. You can give pregnant mares garlic up to a month before foaling and recommence a month after foaling, to avoid tainting the milk. he best time to deworm is said to be close to full moon. French folklore has it that this is when the worms are on the move – a belief shared by many organic farmers. – Kim Dyson (082 888 6511). |fw