Ask Questions - Please feel free to ask worming and testing questions and an E-SQP will get back to you.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Equine Pasture Management

Pasture management is an essential part of any worm control programme, and plays a vital role in ensuring the health and well being of your horse.
Most life cycles of equine parasites involve a period of development outside the horse and on the pasture; with eggs produced by the adult worms in the horse's gut being passed out in its dung. These eggs then develop into infective larvae on the pasture.
A single horse is capable of passing tens of thousands of small redworm eggs each day. Because a horse is mainly infected by ingesting infective larvae as it grazes, reducing its exposure to infective larvae on the pasture is paramount.

Horses' grazing behaviour
The way horses are kept dictate their feeding habits. Horses are fastidious feeders and prefer to eat young, immature plants and will graze some areas of a pasture down to the bare ground. In other parts of the pasture, plants are avoided and allowed to grow to maturity, which lessens palatability and nutrient availability. In addition, horses will not graze around droppings, so pasture plants around dung are also mature and less palatable.
A typical horse, weighing 450kg produces five to 12 pats or about 24kg of dung a day, that's 10 tonnes a year. Up to 50pc of grazing can be lost due to fouled areas, resulting in the characteristic "lawns" and "roughs" as well as an increase in weed infestation.
In the wild, horses are free to graze over very large areas so they can easily avoid eating from pasture that has been contaminated with potentially infective droppings. For domestic horses, however, grazing is often limited, thereby increasing their exposure to infection and action is required to reduce the number of infective larvae on the pasture. This reduction of pasture contamination is achieved by a combination of worming and pasture management.

Pasture management
Pasture management involves a range of actions, including:
Not over stocking pastures, ie no more than one or two horses per acre, as horses lower down the pecking order will be forced to graze the rough pasture where worm burdens will be higher;
Grazing horses alongside sheep, goat or cattle since parasites that affect horses are host specific. Any larvae eaten by other species are destroyed, reducing worm larval contamination of the pasture. Sheep and cattle will also help to improve pasture quality by eating the rough grass rejected by horses;
Dividing paddocks into smaller areas so they can be alternatively grazed and rested to reduce the pressure on the pasture and make it easier to remove droppings
Resting pasture for at least five months, although a good idea is not always an option. Besides, worm larvae can live for many years both on pasture and in horses, so simply resting pasture does not guarantee it will be worm free;
Worming horses 48-72 hours (product choice affects this timing) before moving to new pasture;
Not turning out young stock onto small turn out paddocks as pasture will develop extremely high larval counts particularly if droppings are not removed each day;
Avoiding grazing foals alongside older horses, as foals are a major source of pasture contamination;
Only harrow in very dry conditions, as in damp conditions harrowing simply spreads worm eggs and larvae over the pasture;
Regularly removing dung at least twice weekly during the grazing season, and once a week between November and March. (further research into this issue is on going and perhaps this advice may change one day)

SH Wetherald E-SQP
0870 808 6070

I found this piece when searching my hard disk and it really does seem a very comprehensive and practical with regard to pasture management. I cannot remember writing it so I am indebted to who ever did so and if any one recognizes the wording I will be more than happy to acknowledge that fact. My thanks to you who ever you may be

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Colic problems with horses

When you get a response like the one below it really makes your day
Dear Simon,

Just to tell you that I've wormed them both with the EQUEST PRAMOX [last wednesday] and they are both fine ..... no problems at all, no colic, no nothing ...... I can't begin to tell you how relieved I am and your name and your company have now been plastered all over my facebook with loads of love and gratitude lol lol lol.

Seriously, thank you so much for all your help, your advice and your support  My vet agrees that, being as they are both healthy, on strict and enclosed grass keep and not subject to any other outside influences that twice a year with this will give them good cover - and he is now going to start pushing other people to order it lol.

God bless and take care ............. and thank you once again from the bottom of my heart xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Friday, 6 May 2011

Using worm counts for horses

A worm count is really a worm egg count (known as a faecal egg count). A small sample of dung is examined in the laboratory to find out how many worm eggs are present. We send you the kit including all you need to take the sample along with a prepaid envelope with which you send the sample direct to the laboratory. We will then analise the results and contact you to formulate a worming and testing stratergy.
It is important to realise the uses and limitations of a worm count before taking the decision to reduce your worming programme.
An initial test will determine the level of adult, egg laying, parasites present at that time. It will not show immature or encysted worms nor the level of tapeworm burden so you should treat the result with caution. This is where our expert help comes in to assist in your decision making. There is no charge for this service. You will feel much more confident after a series of counts when a picture of your horses' internal health begins to emerge. The price here is for a single horse testing kit but we are happy to provide a full yard service and can give you special prices on request.