Seeing Red: Redworms A Real Threat To Equine Wellbeing

Britain has reported horses being infected with severe encysted small redworm infections, which can be prevented by treating horses for the potentially fatal parasite.

Small redworm larvae erupt from hibernation in the horse’s gut in the spring, potentially breaking and damaging intestinal wall lining. Symptoms of a redworm infestation include weight loss, diarrhea and colic. Dubbed larval cyathostominosis, the condition can be fatal, especially to horses that are younger than 6, though all ages can be affected.

It’s important to note that fecal egg counts will not detect hibernating redworms; a horse could actually be playing host to millions of encysted small redworm larvae, yet have no or a low egg count on fecal egg count tests

There is currently no test specifically for encysted redworms. Because of this, all horses older than six months should be given a dewormer targeted to redworms in the late fall and again before spring arrives. There are only two ingredients that can treat encysted small redworms: Moxidectin (single dose) or fenbendazole (five-day dose). Redworms have shown to be resistant to fenbendazole, so a resistance test is recommended before dosing the horse with it. Moxidectin is useful against both adult small redworms and encysted mucosal larvae.

Deworming with a product in late fall and winter that doesn’t target encysted stages of redworms can actually increase a horse’s chance of developing larval cyathostominosis. Equine veterinarians can offer targeted treatments for horses in their care

Read more at HorseTalk.

 

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