I’m often asked about worm control in horses.
Worms are natural. In small numbers.
One reason for worms is a mineral deficiency.
Horses, sheep, pigs, cattle and poultry will never have worms if their diet includes foods naturally rich in minerals. That means a pasture rich in diversity and naturally fertilised. The use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides throws the natural balance out.
Weeds supply the best diversity. They are usually deep rooted so can bring up minerals from deep down. Grasses are shallow rooted so can’t do this. This is one reason why animals eat the bark of trees. Trees pull up minerals.
As many deep rooted weeds aren’t eaten by grazing animals, they allow the minerals to be absorbed into the soil, when they die and rot down. And so naturally fertilising the soil for next year’s grass.
You can add a naturally balanced mineral rich supplement, such as kelp or blue green algae daily to their feed, to help counter worm proliferation. I prefer to allow them to free feed on the kelp, because at some times they will eat it as a food, while at other times, they ignore it. They know best when they need it. But keep the container out of direct sun. Use the best wild-crafted or certified organic free from heavy metals.
Some horses prefer the kelp dry. Others are happy with a solution. You will have to experiment to find what yours prefer. Because the algae is more expensive, I put it in their feed when they seem to need it more – such as when the grazing is poor. If your horses are never put on pasture, then they will need it daily.
A horse with a serious worm problem can be given copper sulphate (in tiny quantities – about 1/8 of a teaspoon for a horse, less for smaller animals) in daily feed during the active worm season (spring and summer). If you use this, make sure the animals also have access to kelp. A safer option is to give them a homeopathic complex.
You can get a worm count down quite cheaply by going directly to your local agriculture department, rather than through a veterinarian. You are looking for a count in the strongyle. Don’t aim for a zero count. Some worms are natural and normal.
This natural management of worm control in horses is more healthy for your horse as well as the environment. Commercial wormers can harm the horse as well as killing off the worms. In addition they kill off dung beetles and disrupt the ecology of the living soil.
Homeopathic treatment is just as effective for your horse as it is for you.