Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Keeping Warm

Baby, it's cold outside!
Night time temperatures have been dipping below zero.
You might wonder how our equine friends stay warm
through this harsh weather.
Especially because they are not put away in a stall each night.

No, our horses live out of doors all year round.
They have access to stalls if they want them,
but more times than not, they just use them as
a "potty".

Being ponies, minis and draft horses gives them the advantage
of being able to grow long, thick coats for the winter.
And, they do just that.....
grow long and thick and shaggy....
and warm.

Besides wearing a warm coat,
our Bigs and Littles have access to lots of hay.
In the winter, their bellies become a furnace of sorts.
As long as they have hay to munch,
they stay toasty warm.

We also handle worming our equines a bit differently.
We do not have our horses on a monthly schedule for worming.
Instead, we check stool specimens periodically during the year
and treat accordingly.
Fastidious cleaning of pastures helps to reduce parasites.
There is good literature suggesting that monthly worming
has caused parasites to become resistant to the medications
currently on the market.

This year I noticed that our horses had bot eggs on their front legs.
Now that we have had some freezing temperatures,
we will give them worming medication to kill the bot larvae in their
gastrointestinal tract.
Yesterday afternoon, I inspected their legs and clipped off any
remaining bot eggs....
to prevent further ingestion.

Scarlet thought she might help me....

(Equine bot flies lay their eggs on the hairs of the horses legs.
Then, when the horses rub their mouths on their front legs,
they ingest the eggs.  The eggs begin their metamorphosis
in the GI tract of the horse, where they will live for the
next year...causing health problems for the horse.)

Later this week I will give each of the horses a dose of
worming medication....
hopefully the only dose they will need this year.

If you have horses, you might want to consider only using
de-wormer as a treatment, and not prophylactically.
It is important, then that you do regular fecal exams.


  1. I rotate wormers between 3 kinds-fenbendazole, ivermectin and pyrantel pamoate every other month as directed by my vet-this is the most common method of dealing with worms in horses at present. I agree that that this method is contributing to these organisms building a resistance and is not the best way to care for our horses.
    I wish my vet offered your way of scanning stool samples and treating accordingly. I wonder why that method is not more widely used? Aren't certain kinds of worms active at different times of year and might be missed by a stool sample being checked only once a year? I thought that they would need to be checked throughout the seasons. A question for Doctor Becky!
    Heather in PA

  2. OOPS! Sorry, I reread your post and see that you do indeed do fecal exams periodically throughout the year. I need to wake up on this cold morning!
    Heather in PA

  3. Yes, Heather, we check them more than once a year. You are right about that! They do get wormed every year regardless because of the bots. They don't show up in fecal exams until it's too late, we worm as soon as we have had some steady freezing temps.

  4. I love when our four legged friends put on their thick winter coats. We don't have horses, but we have deer and elk that often visit, and the deer are looking more like teddy bears lately. :)

  5. Do you practice the same method with the goats?

    I was told to check the goat's gums and the pink of the eye sockets and if it is pale or white that indicates anemia and possible worms. My vet doesn't agree with this and suggests worming four times a year. I've never had a problem with just treating when needed...

    Just wondering what you think...


  6. How would the wormer companies make money if we didn't worm our horses every month? ;)

    This takes me back to my report/presentation I had to do on strongyles I did in college! Ha!

  7. I'll forward this info to a horse owner that I know...good info..Thanks

  8. Hi Lisa,
    We use a paste wormer a few times a year on the goats, and also a wormer that is added to their water. We rotate goat yards and put the horses in to eat when we move goats out. Horses eat goat parasites, but it won't affect them.

    If you have goats, you have parasites, they say. The goat parasites are very difficult to ever get totally rid of. We keep ours at bay...but they are always there it seems.

    I guess I might agree with your vet on the goat worming.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  9. Ha! Kellee, I am laughing!!! I don't think we have to worry about drug companies....they make plenty of money!!

  10. You certainly know your business. I do not own any horses , but find farming and farm animals very interesting.


We welcome your questions and comments. Questions very often become the subject of a later blog keep those questions coming!! I read each and every comment...they are often the highlight of my day! Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us.....


Related Posts with Thumbnails