Horse Internal Parasites and How to Prevent Them

Horse owners know that it is crucial to deworm horses, as internal parasites can pose a serious threat. For horses’ health and immunity to be protected from extensive damage, internal parasites, also known as “silent killers,” need to be kept under control. In order to keep your horse healthy and safe, let’s take a look at the most common internal parasites.

Horses Are prone to a variety of internal parasites, but which ones are the most common?
A parasite is an organism that lives within its host and feeds on it. Horses have a life outside of them, as well as inside them. A parasite can enter your horse’s system through pastures and grazing: a horse can accidentally consume parasitic larvae, which then begin a new lifecycle inside the animal’s body. Horses are susceptible to more than 150 parasites, some of which occur rarely and others more frequently. Parasites can adversely affect your horse’s health, so it is imperative that you treat them. Your horse may experience weight loss, colic, diarrhea, potbelly, coarse coat, and many other symptoms. A parasitic infestation can also be characterized by lethargy, mouth lesions, hair loss, coughing, nasal discharge, sores, and a lack of appetite. You should visit a vet regularly and get rid of parasites as soon as possible if you want to keep them at bay. Nevertheless, before we can discuss treatment and prevention options, we must first understand the types of parasites that infect horses – and the symptoms they produce.

The tapeworm 

Among equines, tapeworms are the most common internal parasite. They can be divided into three types. In grass, they are found on a species of mite. Ingesting them while grazing, horses also ingest tapeworm larvae. After being released in the small intestine, the parasite lives on in the horse. As the tapeworms attach to the gut, the intestinal tract becomes inflamed. Other hazards include colic, ulceration, obstruction, and thickening of the intestines.

The pinworm 

Also common are pinworms, which are found in our environment and are consumed by horses in their egg form. Once ingested, they grow and mature in the horse’s intestinal tract. Upon reaching adulthood, they exit the tract through the anus and lay eggs there. The horse will experience intense itchiness and rub its tail and backside constantly as a result. The most common type of pinworm is the pinworm, which affects the outside rather than the intestines. However, excessive scratching can lead to hair loss and scratches on the tail and its area. Although they are internal parasites, you must take care of them.

Strongyles with large heads

Horses are also affected by strongyles, both large and small. The larvae of strongyles are found in pastures, cunningly hidden within dew droplets. Horses’ systems can be devastated by these poisons once they are ingested. Upon entering the blood vessels through the intestines, they burrow in artery walls and disrupt blood flow. Their popular nickname is “bloodworms”. In addition to attacking the liver, other types of strongyles migrate to the intestines without disrupting blood flow. They are among the most pathogenic and damaging internal parasites, but they are generally rare nowadays, thanks to special treatment strategies that have reduced their presence on pastures.

The bots

Both outside and inside a horse, bots are parasites that come from the bot fly. Flying bots lay their eggs in horses’ coats, often on their necks, manes, and lower front legs. In order to avoid discomfort, the horse bites or licks off the eggs, and he ingests them. Horses harbor larvae in their mouths, in their gums. After burrowing into the stomach lining for nine months, they pass into the internal system. In addition to causing oral lesions and stomach lining damage, they are not as harmful as other internal parasites.

Itchy threadworms 

Horses with internal parasites are often foals and older horses. Ingestion of the larvae of threadworms occurs through grazing, the environment, mother’s milk, or direct skin penetration. Regardless of how they enter the lungs, they migrate to the small intestine, causing health problems such as dehydration, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Threadworms have been greatly reduced by the availability of dewormers and precautions today.

Horse Parasite Prevention
Parasites are expected to be present in the systems of all horses. The presence of heavy parasite “loads”, however, can be very dangerous, and requires treatment. Knowledge is one of the best preventive measures. Know what types of parasites there are, what they do, and how to treat them. In addition to knowing the symptoms, knowing how to respond efficiently and quickly is also important. Regular contact with a veterinarian is also recommended, as it can help you set up a deworming program on time and keep parasites at bay. Additionally, you can rotate pastures to avoid overgrazing and parasite exposure. When your horse is stall-fed, remember to put the feed in a rack or elevate the feeding position. Be sure to follow the deworming instructions and give the proper dosage for your horse’s weight when deworming. Keeping parasites at bay for as long as possible starts with these small, but extremely important details.

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