Should I worm my pregnant mare?
Deworming pregnant mares is one protocol that most horse owners consider carefully before administering. In general, many are uncertain of the appropriate horse worming procedure to follow for expectant mares but all owners want their mare and new foal to be happy and healthy, and to do this safely.
One of the most important things to remember when worming your pregnant mare is product selection. Most horse wormers available in Australia are safe to use on a pregnant mare throughout their pregnancy. However, you should check the label or product information prior to use as it will say whether it has been tested as safe for use in pregnant mares. No wormer should be given that hasn’t been tested and approved as safe during pregnancy. Before administering a wormer to your mare, it’s best to check with your veterinarian that the wormer you have chosen is the best option for your mare and situation.
What product to use:
Wormers that are available in Australia and advised by the manufacturer to be as safe for use in pregnant mares include (but not limited to):
- Equimax Elevation
- Equest Plus Tape Gel
- Imax Gold
- Promectin Plus
- Strategy T
When should you worm:
When it comes to the timing of worming pregnant mares, they can be treated as normal throughout their pregnancy as per the current worming procedures you already have in place, however it is recommended before undertaking any worming program to discuss all options with your veterinarian and undertake some faecal egg counts to determine if and when your mare may need worming and to provide a more targeted program to your particular needs. If you have only just acquired your mare and unsure of her worming history again it is best to perform a faecal egg count so you can worm her appropriately or to check that she may not already have a heavy worm burden, which can cause other health issues.
As your mare gets closer to her due date it is recommended to time your worming so that you treat her within 2-4 weeks of foaling. This helps control any parasite transfer to the foal after birth. You can then worm both the mare and foal again when the foal is approximately 6-8 weeks of age, but again be guided by your veterinarian’s advice.
Other tips to remember:
It is important to remember, no worming program is complete without proper pasture management and good husbandry. The strategies below can drastically reduce the number of parasites on your property and help safeguard your mare and foal from intestinal parasites:
- Pick up and remove manure from the paddock or yard.
- If possible rotate and rest paddocks
- Avoid over-crowding paddocks.
- Ensure you have a good worming program for all horses on your property.
- Integrate faecal egg counts into your worming program.