Archive for March 27th, 2012

Gross subject, huh? Well it’s even more gross to have worms coming out of your beloved horse’s behind! When I entered the horse world those few four years ago, I was at the mercy of all the knowledgeable horsemen around me. Everyone said you get your horse on a “worming program”. Hmm… ok, what’s a worming program? You find a good deal from one of the catalog stores, buy up a year’s supply of worming drugs and rotate which ones you give to your horse every couple months. I did as I was told but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. In the dog world, we check fecals to see if there even are any worms / parasites. I was laughed at for even suggesting this and posed the question “why would you waste good money on that?” Just worm ’em!

It didn’t take me long to break my dependence on those who knew more than me. I’ve always gone my own way in the care of our animals. I always question why. I began having my equine vet check fecal samples from Cass and Becca. This was actually on the verge of becoming the new and preferred way to “worm the horses”. With all the years of rotating wormers the smart little buggers have begun building up a resistance to those drugs. Doesn’t do any good to worm a horse when the drug doesn’t work. When we moved into the Red Barn three years ago the girls were basically parasite-free. I’ve only had to use any wormers a time or two for the year, rather than every two months like the old-timey way. The least amount of drugs going into the girls, especially Cass with her allergy issues, is just better.

Worms / parasites live in the ground, on top of the ground and all around the ground. Our luck ran out a couple months ago. I had noticed Cass looking a bit messy in her privates. This wasn’t normal. She’s such a good girl in allowing me to violate her privacy by cleaning and photographing!

I called up my vet and asked what she thought could be going on. Neither one of us were very suspicious of worms because they’ve been basically negative for 3 years. I check fecal samples every few months. It’d been unusually hot so maybe she wasn’t drinking enough and some of her intestinal lining was sloughing off. That sounded reasonable but Cass is a very good drinker – as long as I keep her water tubs sparkly clean – which I do. The vet had me give her some bran mash just to be on the safe side to help with any tummy issues.

The next day I found this little guy hanging out on my girls bum!

Called up my vet and as we were discussing the situation, Cass politely walked over and relieved herself beside me. Her poop looked like she had a spaghetti dance going on! Worms!!!! Gross!!!!!!! I scooped some up in a plastic baggie so my vet could peruse under the microscope. Neither of us wanted to just blindly give my girl drugs before knowing what we were about to battle. The result came back as Adult Female Pin Worms.

Pin Worms cause intense anal itching. Cass is always itching her backside and I’ve always figured it was a combination of her allergies plus the heaviness of her tail, which is usually the case. Not this time. Sigh. Pin Worms are picked up by horses in contaminated grain, hay, water or grass. Immature worms live in the large intestine for approximately three to four months then, when mature, crawl out the anus and lay their eggs. The eggs fall to the ground, hatch and wait for a new host. Part of my job was to bleach all the wall areas where Cass could have been rubbing. That was an undertaking but I did it. All the stall walls, the poles in the run-in shed, everything outside of all the trees were scrubbed down with bleach. I also spread some Diatomaceous Earth around to kill any eggs hiding in the dirt.

The girls and I decided we’d better pick up any manure piles close to the barn to avoid re-contamination.

Becca sure doesn’t want the itchy butt like her momma!

Knowing exactly what you are battling makes all the difference. Cass has been feeling much better and I feel better knowing I gave her the proper care.

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