weigh your horse before deworming

Avoid the weight-guessing game when it’s time to deworm your horse. While a weight tape might seem simple, it could be the most valuable tool in your tack box when deworming your horse.

“It’s important for horse owners to understand that deworming treatment doses are based on the weight of the individual horse,” said Kenton Morgan, DVM, managing equine technical services veterinarian with Zoetis. “Eyeballing a horse’s weight is risky, as both under- and overdosing can contribute to resistance and safety issues. Using a weight tape or scale eliminates the guessing game and ensures an accurate dose for your horse.”

Deworming too frequently can cause parasites to be overexposed to certain active ingredients, which can cause them to become resistant. This results in fewer effective treatment options. Considering that 90% of equine internal parasites like small strongyles, tapeworms, pinworms, roundworms, bloodworms, and threadworms come from the environment horses are exposed to every day, an effective deworming program is critical.

Successful treatment also depends on an accurate dose and an effective deworming product.

“By deworming without dosing to a horse’s accurate weight, horse owners can consequently increase their horse’s risk for parasite resistance,” Morgan said. “This can impact the horse’s response to deworming treatment and his overall health in the future. Horse owners can help prevent parasite resistance by using a simple weight tape to capture their horse’s weight for an accurate dose.”

Remember these four steps when using a weight tape:

  1. Ensure your horse is standing square;
  2. Place the weight tape around your horse’s heart girth;
  3. Read the number where the tape meets for the closest weight approximation; and
  4. Set your dewormer to the correct weight to administer an accurate dose.

To ensure an effective deworming treatment, work with your veterinarian to develop an individualized deworming program for your horse, beginning with a fecal egg count test and capturing his accurate weight.