University of Vermont AAHS

Ask Dr. Dave*

[reproduced from Fall 2002 Caution:Horses]


Q.        We have horses in our barn on Strongid C, some being rotated between Ivermectin, Quest, and other past dewormers, and some that are dewormed by being tubed by the vet twice a year and one horse that gets Strongid C and Ivermectin paste for bots and is tubed by the vet. Is it necessary to tube a horse if one uses paste dewormers carefully or uses Strongid C with the Ivermectin for bots?

A.        Using a nasogastric tube to deworm horses is an excellent way to ensure that the product gets to the right place, i.e. the stomach and not all over the owner or exterior of the horse (a common occurrence with paste dewormers and those horses who don't care to have something that looks like A REALLY BIG SYRINGE put in their mouths). With the advent of paste dewormers, tubing a horse to deworm is much less common than it used to be. If done properly, paste dewormers will work fine. You should make sure the horse has not been eating or does not have a wad of hay or grass between the cheeks and gums because the paste will get balled up in that mass and end up on the floor, much to the delight of the intended target. Daily Strongid C is widely used and will work but the horse should be dewormed in the spring and late fall with an ivermectin (Eqvalan or Zimecterin for example) or with Quest (moxidectin) to kill bot larvae in the stomach. Tube deworming horses is fine and could be reserved for those who don't like pastes in their mouths (although I suspect they would not be too keen on a tube going up their nasal passages either). If you can, try to get all the horses on the same schedule (may be easier said than done) for the convenience of whomever is doing the deworming.

Q.        If horses have adequate fresh water and grass must they have shade as well?

A.        Yes. They should have shade provided in the form of a barn, run-in shed or trees. You can't make them stand in the shade but they should have the choice. Would you want to stand in the sun all day yourself? 

Q.        We have several horses in the pasture that sweat when it is hot. They get what appears to be salt deposits on their backs. It is necessary to wash these deposits off? 

A.        I'm not sure you have to wash off the salt deposits unless you are going to ride (potential irritation under a saddle) but you might want to bathe them occasionally to help cool them off and keep the skin clean. I would also recommend strongly that salt and trace mineral salt and plenty of clean water be available at all times to replace those electrolytes lost in the sweat.  

Q.        Horse flies can be a big problem in many areas in the summer. The stable kids were wondering what horses do who donít have anyone to put fly spray on them. Are wild horses bothered with flies and if so what do they do? 

A.        Horses will stand head to tail in pairs and use their tails to swat flies on each other. They will roll in the dirt, stamp their feet, kick and bite at flies and run from them. Horses pastured by themselves lack the buddy system and have to rely on the latter methods. I suspect that wild horses, who do get bothered by flies, use the same types of behavior.  

* David Cross, D.V.M., Ph.D.  University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, Missouri.  AAHS Vice-President.

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