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Dear Cherry

Do older horses require the same vaccines as the younger ones. Mine is at a boarding stable and has been immunized every year. I had the vet come out and do a physical on both of my horses (both mares, one is 7 the other is 31). He said that the older mare could do without a couple of the shots (Strangles, Potomac, and rabies). But the barn owner said he requires that all the horses have the same shots as long as they are boarded at his barn. I’m wondering if mine and others are being over vaccinated? What are your thoughts? I also had the vet do fecal tests for parasites, which came out normal on both. I’m afraid he’s going to tell me I have to give them dewormer. The vet suggested doing the fecals first and I agree with him. I’ve always given the wormer before, but again the vet is suggesting that they can be overmedicated on dewormer. Both my mares are very healthy. You’d never know that the 31 year old was that old!

Thanks for you input.  Mary

Hi Mary,

Generally I would follow the recommendations of your veterinarian. What you vaccinate for and how often you deworm and with what should be based on an individual horse’s situation and needs. There is no sense deworming a horse with a negative fecal exam.

However, whether right or wrong, the owner of the barn where you board may have the legal right to require you to vaccinate and deworm according to his farm’s guidelines. I hope the barn’s program has been developed in consultation with a veterinarian.

If it becomes a point of contention, it would be best to have your veterinarian discuss the health program requirements with the barn owner and his veterinarian so they can come to an agreeable solution for all.

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Hi Cherry,

I have a Quarter Horse gelding that is really good about just about everything. My problem is that he seems to always spit out the wormer, usually with a big wad of hay or grass. He takes the wormer good enough but then spits it out. I hate to waste the dang stuff ’cause it’s so expensive. Is there any way to make sure he gets the wormer down?

Thanks, Beatrice

Hello Beatrice,

Horse Health Care by Cherry HillFirst of all, the correct name for the paste that you are trying to give your horse is dewormer, not wormer. A dewormer gets rid of worms; a wormer would give your horse worms ! Smiling deworming buddy.

101 Horsekeeping Tips DVDIt’s great that your have mastered the skill of giving your horse the dewormer and that he accepts deworming without a fuss. To be sure that the dewormer gets to the worms and does its job, you’ll need to make sure your horse’s mouth is clean before administering the paste. To see how to do this, watch this video clips “Wads ‘n Worms” from our DVD, 101 Horsekeeping Tips.



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Dear Cherry,

I’m confused by all of the deworming rotation plans out there. Can you help me find the right one? Thank you, Betty


Dear Betty,

You and your veterinarian need to determine what is most appropriate for your horse’s parasite control program. The next step is knowing what to use and when.

Well that answer will depend on your climate and what types of parasites you are targeting. The rotation programs that you have probably seen assume that you need to deworm for all parasites and that deworming has successfully rid your horse of those parasites. However, you might find, through fecal testing, that your horses don’t ever have certain parasites OR that even though you deworm regularly for strongyles, for example, your horses still have a strongyle problem.

With that in mind, realize that the rotation programs you will find in your vet catalogs or on line might likely be highlighting certain products, whether you need them or not. In fact, if you search “deworming rotation” at http://www.google.com most of the results on the first page are recommendations from vet catalogs. They list products by brand name rather than by ingredient and give little information as to why you should use a particular product when. But even among experts, there are various opinions of what you should use and when. The best rotation plan is one that takes into account your climate, the density of the horse population on your farm, and fecal test results.

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