One of the most common and fatal digestive dilemmas that befall horses would have to be parasitic infections. Not only are they a health issue for the animal but they can also pose threats to the others inside the barn or stables. To battle it out, knowledge has to be above par because we can’t exactly fight off an enemy we don’t know. This is why today we’ve asked the experts from Global Herbs to introduce to us the common parasites that make life a living hell for our friendly horses.
ASCARIDS or more commonly known as round worms are plump white worms that can grow up to 12 inches long. It primarily affects but is not exclusive to foals. They are contracted by ingestion of eggs which can be found in pastures, paddocks and contaminated soil. Infected foals will show. Its signs will include loss of appetite, lack of energy, colic and even intestinal blockage in the intestines and perforation.
HORSE BOTS are the larvae of Bot flies and are found to linger in the stomach. It is contracted when the adult fly lays its eggs on the horse where it sticks to the coat or hair. When dampened with sweat, the eggs hatch and the larvae are carried into the mouth as the animal grooms itself. Soon enough, it passes and burrows itself in the stomach. They can cause wounds and ulceration in both the mouth and the stomach.
TAPEWORMS are found in the stomach and both the small and large intestines. They begin when the horse ingests pasture mites that have come to be infected by tapeworm eggs. As the larvae travels down the digestive tract, it brings about mild to severe symptoms depending on the gravity of the infection. The horse can suffer from ulceration, abdominal infection, recurring colic and weight loss.
LARGE STRONGYLES are also known as red or blood worms. They are ingested from forage (e.g. grass and hay) that have become unsterile by being contaminated with feces. The initial point of entry would have to be the intestines but as they grow, they migrate to the blood vessels and other organs in the body thus their name. Large strongyles bring about anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite, weakness, colic, intussusceptions of intestinal tissues, bleeding, rupture of the digestive tract and even damage to the central nervous system.
These horse parasites can be treated in several ways and it is best to consult and seek medical help from a veterinarian immediately. Apart from proper nutrition, sanitation is also a key instrument to ward them off says Global Herbs.