Treat for Parasites
“High parasite burdens are definitely associated with more
colics, but the answer is not to just to deworm more,” says
Kivett. “In order to have effective parasite control, you need
to do fecal egg counts at least twice a year and deworm
accordingly. Horse owners are becoming more aware of
changes in parasite control recommendations because they’re
hearing it from multiple sources.” Kivett believes veterinarians need to take responsibility for educating their clients.
Parasite control is also about managing pastures and controlling manure. Dragging
(harrowing) fields will break up manure piles, but it also spreads them—and parasite S E B
larvae—across the area. The best plan
is to pick up manure on a regular basis.
Also, pay attention to stocking
density, which refers to how many
horses are turned out together in one
pasture. Fewer horses on more acres
generally have fewer incidences of
colic for multiple reasons, including
less exposure to parasites and reduced
stress because there’s not as much
competition for grazing and personal
“The farms I see with the biggest
parasite problems also have stocking
density problems, meaning too many
horses on small acreage,” says Kivett.
“These are also the farms that tend to
have more colics.”
CYNTHIA McFARLAND is an Ocala, Flori-da-based freelance writer, horse owner and
avid trail rider. The author of nine books, her
latest is The Horseman’s Guide to Tack and
pastures contribute to high
which are one
cause of colic.