Cold weather has come and it’s time to de-worm!
For most horse owners, de-worming their horse is as easy as grabbing some paste, stuffing it in their reluctant horse’s mouth, and forgetting about it until next time. But there is so much more to de-worming we should think about.
First of all, paste de-wormers are poison. They not only poison the parasites, but they put poisons in your horse as well. Occasionally a horse is so infested with parasites that this is necessary; for instance when parasites are found in the muscle, but most of the time it is not. Natural herbal de-wormers work on a different approach but they are just as effective, though they do require more thought.
Prevention is the number one, and least thought about, part of the de-worming process. Clean feed areas, maintaining poo piles properly, and keeping insects under control are all part of the de-worming process.
Your horse’s immune system functioning at top performance level is as much a part of keeping parasites under control as de-wormers and preventative measures. A clean chemical free diet, immune boosting herbs and healthy living quarters are all important to have a healthy immune system.
Herbal de-wormers may be more expensive up front, but if they save you vet bills later on, in the end, you will save money. Any type of poison used on your horse is going to leave a residual, whether paste de-wormers or chemical fly sprays. Any type of poison will lower the immune system and are especially hard on the liver and kidneys as the horse processes it through their digestive tract. Spending a bit more for herbal de-wormers now will save you money in the long run. Herbal de-wormers not only expel parasites but add vitamins and minerals at the same time. Double win!
Most horses do not have side effects to herbal de-wormers, though the most efficient de-worming herbs like wormwood and black walnut, can cause inflammation in the feet. For horses with founder or laminitis issues, caution must be taken when using these herbs.
Side effects for paste de-wormers include: "swelling of the mouth, lips, and/or tongue, ulcers on mouth, lips, or tongue, colic-like symptoms, colic, seizures, and death". These side effects are written on paste de-wormer inserts.
So the next time you need to de-worm, think natural before chemical. Your horse will thank you for it.