Tapeworms in Horses
Signs of Tapeworms in my Horse
Signs include diminished performance, pain and discomfort, increased flatulence, pawing, trying to lie down, malaise, lethargy, nipping at sides, refusal to eat, weight loss, nutritional deficiency, bloating, dull coat, and lack of shedding in warmer weather. Seldom will you see any of these signs caused by Tapeworms because normally these signs are only seen in severely infected horses. Unfortunately there is no good test for Tapeworms in horses in the U.S.A. at this time.
There is a saliva antibody test in England that we had available for a short time that was very accurate; however, it was taken off the market for logistical reasons and safety. There were some concern for the safety of the laboratory staff due to the possibility of them being exposed to rabies since horses can get rabies and the fact that the virus is spread through the saliva of animals. We occasionally find Tapeworm eggs in the fecal egg counts and if they are found they are reported.
The more times we do fecal egg counts on a horse or herd the more likely we are to find Tapeworm eggs if there are any horses in the herd infected with Tapeworms. When we find any horses in a pasture with Tapeworms we recommend deworming the horses in that pasture with a deworming medication that contains Praziquantel or Pyrantel paomate twice a year. If no Tapeworm eggs are ever found, then deworming for Tapeworms once a year may be adequate.
What are Tapeworms?
In recent years, more problems in horses are being attributed to tapeworms. It is unclear whether the incidence of horses having tapeworms has increased or we are doing more to diagnosis them.
The recognized treatments for Tapeworms are Prasiquantel (99%-100% effective), Pyrantel pamoate normal dose 6.6 mg/kg (80% effective), double dose Pyrantel pamoate 13.2 mg/kg is greater than 95% effective.
However, in certain situations this worm may cause colic therefore efforts should be made to control them.
Information on Tapeworms
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