If You Snooze, You Lose The Deworming Battle: Redworms Hibernate

by | 12.20.2017 | 1:10pm

Small redworms can be a problem for horses even in the winter, when temperatures drop. Zoetis has created a video to make sure equine enthusiasts understand the risks of these worms, reports HorseTalk.

While the cold is hard on may parasites, small redworm larvae bury themselves in the horse's intestinal wall in the fall and winter, forming cysts to hibernate during the colder weather. Up to 90 percent of the redworms in a horse's body may be encysted.

In the spring, the larvae can come out of hibernation in large numbers, breaking and harming the intestinal wall. This mass awakening of the worms can cause weight loss, diarrhea and colic. Called larval cyathostominosis, this condition has a mortality rate of up to 50 percent; while any age of horse can be affected, those that are under 6 years old are particularly at risk.

Watch a video of the small redworm lifecycle.

Once a horse shows signs of having larval cyathostominosis, it is difficult to treat the condition effectively.

Unfortunately, a fecal egg count will not detect encysted small redworms as the larvae are not producing eggs. A horse can have a worm burden of up to several million redworms, but as they are encysted, the egg count will show negative or low worm burden, so it's imperative that horse owners remain diligent with a deworming program.

Read more at Zoetis.

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