Diatomaceous Earth Not A Substitute For Chemical Dewormers

With the ongoing concern over equine parasite’s resistance to dewormers, horse owners and caretakers are always on the lookout for other options to keep worms at bay. Diatomaceous earth has been used for years as a dewormer for livestock. When ingested, the diatomaceous earth, which is a silica-rich powder, supposedly slices through the worm’s exoskeletons and kills them.

While many animal owners claim to have gotten good results from feeding diatomaceous earth, there have been no scientific studies to prove that it has antiparasitic properties.

Dr. Martin Krarup Nielsen does not feel that diatomaceous earth can kill parasites in a horse’s intestine; it’s the sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth that supposedly cut and kill the parasites, but Nielson feels that there would be too much other ingesta in the intestine, allowing the worms to avoid being cut.

Additionally, he points out, if the edges of the diatomaceous earth were as sharp as they claim, it would be expected that it would also cut the membranes of the intestine. Nielson says that there is no reason to expect diatomaceous earth to have antiparasitic effects on intestinal worms in horses.

He also notes that resistance can develop to any deworming treatment, assuming the treatment works initially. Resistance will always develop, no matter the treatment used.

Read more at The Horse.

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