Having one of your horses give birth to a young foal is really a wonderful treat. It’s so much fun to watch them take their first shaky steps, follow their mother around and then become more confident and start exploring the pasture on their own. This small and gangly little young one will be so curious and full of energy, happy to frolic in the grass all day long.
In order to protect the health of your young horses, it is important to start thinking about deworming. Worms can be a serious health problem for horses and so you will need to get this new horse started on a deworming regime as quickly as possible. Foals are very susceptible to parasites and if they have a worm problem when they are young then this can cause scarring of the aorta, increase the risk of colic, damage the liver and even cause pneumonia.
All of your other horses are likely on a schedule of regular doses of Equest horse wormer, so your young horse will need to have this treatment at some point as well. However, how old is old enough to start deworming? At what age is it safe to give a horse this medicine?
Deworm the Mare too
Before the horse is even born, there are a few things that you can do to reduce its likelihood of being infected by worms at birth. You can deworm the mare with her preferred type of Equest horse wormer at least 30 days before she gives birth, or on the day of foaling which can help to prevent transmission of parasites to the foal as it is born.
Consider the Life Cycle of the Worms
Let’s imagine that your foal picked up a parasite at birth. It should take approximately six weeks for that parasite to develop to a point where it would be effectively killed by the use of a wormer. If you use the wormers for horses before this point when the worms are not mature yet, they will probably not be affected by the drugs at all. This is why it makes sense to wait until the foal is two months old before deworming begins.
Choose Your Wormer Carefully
Before you start your young horse on a worming programme, it is important to speak to your veterinarian to find out which sort of medicine they should be on. You don’t want to simply give your foal just any type of random cheap horse wormers which were on sale, as it might not be the right dosage or strength for their needs. Giving a young horse the wrong wormer can be quite dangerous and can lead to the worms becoming resistance to the effects of the wormer.
There are a wide range of different types of horse wormers for sale out there, each with their own different ingredients and treatment schedule. Some are suitable for foals after six weeks of age, others after two months. Always check with your veterinarian first before worming a young foal.
Be Careful With Dosages
When you are administering Equest horse wormer or another treatment to a young horse for the first time, be certain that you are giving them the right dosage. They obviously will not need as much horse wormer as a full grown horse due to their smaller size, so calculate the right dosage based on their body weight. Young horses will also need to receive these dosages more frequently than older ones, so make sure that they have their own separate deworming schedule.
These are just a few important tips to keep in mind for keeping your young horses safe from worms.
Emily Starr is a blogger who socialises with friends who own horses. She writes a blog about horse care, advising her readers on health issues, Equest horse wormer, caring for foals and much more.