How to Host a Worm Paste Party
Newsflash: Film at 11...
Deworming your horse does not have to be a total "night-mare", nor does it have to be some stress inducing ridiculous undertaking (honest :o) With a few simple steps you can go from "It's kind of like doing aerobic exercise with a giraffe" to "Man, that was EASY".
This lens is primarily for horses that do not like worm paste (in other words, 99.999% of them). The PHOTO on the left is Champ; he would represent the other .0001% of the equine population. He has always loved deworming time and is a veritable worm paste connoisseur (blech :oP
While this lens does actually contain technical information, I've opted to take a more lighthearted approach to tackling what is generally a somewhat boring topic. Why? Because I can of course! :o)
Round and Round and Round We Go
Commonly Used Rotations
Rotating between chemical classes is supposed to create the most effective deworming program for your horse. Although I believe there is a growing debate over this issue, we'll stick with that theory for now...
Below are the four different classes of chemicals and a handy list of brand names within each chemical class. Feel free to print out this list and keep it clipped to your calendar (I have to do this or I forget which one I used when :o) Depending on the climate and where you live your worming program will have slightly different parameters. For example; because we are in the South, we tend to focus more heavily on dewormers containing boticides as flies are present throughout most of the year here.
**MACROCYCLIC LACTONES (ivermectin/praziquantel and moxidectin/praziquantel)
This class breaks down the membranes of tapeworms and paralyzes arthropods and nematodes. It also protects against strongyles (small and large), pinworms, ascarids, bots, and summer sore-causing parasites.
BRAND NAMES: Equimax * Zimecterin Gold * Quest Plus * ComboCare
*BENZIMIDAZOLES (fenbendazole and oxibendazole)*
This class kills parasites quickly; it offers wide spectrum nematode protection and includes small and large strongyles, pinworms and ascarids.
BRAND NAMES: Anthelcide EQ * Panacur Powerpac * SafeGuard * Benzelmin
**PYRANTELS (pyrantel pamoate and pyrantel tartrate)
This class kills parasites slowly. It causes paralysis in a wide spectrum of nematodes; small and large strongyles, pinworms and ascarids.
BRAND NAMES: Strongid Paste * Strongid C * Continuex Daily * Rotectin P * Strongyle Wormer * Manna Pro Foal & Horse Pelleted Wormer * Exodus Paste
**MACROCYCLIC LACTONES (ivermectin and moxidectin)
This class also causes paralysis in parasites plus a wide spectrum of arthropods and nematodes. Also affects small and large strongyles (including benzimidazole resistant small strongyles, pinworms, ascarids, bots and summer sore causing parasites).
BRAND NAMES: Equell * Zimecterin * IverCare * Quest Gel * Equimectrin * Ivermectin * Rotectin 1.87% * Bimectin
Pre-Party Prep: The art of the halter drill - Around 30 minutes to an hour before deworming (just in case :o)
One of the handiest "tricks" to teach your horse is to come when called and drop his (or her) nose in the halter. If you have a herd like we do, it really only takes one convert and they'll help you teach the rest. We taught Bella first (as she is the smartest) and then used Bella to teach Rina, Rina and Bella to teach Taya, and Rina, Bella and Taya to teach Lady (see who's who in the photos below). We don't even have to bother calling anybody anymore, most of the time just walking outside and holding up a halter brings everybody down the hill :o)
If your horse is one that practices the elusive meandering method, this will be more easily accomplished in a small area or stall. Because food is #2 on his list of priorities (safety being #1) he will be easily and strongly motivated by the use of a few treats. Hold the halter open in front of you where your horse can see it; don't expect him to drop his head immediately (he'll probably just look at you like, "Yeah, it's a halter - so???") Slip it on him, praise-Praise-PRAISE and give him a treat. It won't take too many times before his busy little brain connects halter with food (then he'll totally want to help :o) Horses associate whatever occurs immediately following an action with that event, so once you establish the halter/treat concept it will override anything that comes after the treat (like shots). I do suggest leaving a little bit of lag time between haltering and "the big stuff" - a.k.a. shots - to be sure there's no connection made (better safe than sorry dont'cha know :o)
One of the reasons this is such a great concept to teach is because generally horses associate halters with negative things. Consider what we usually do with the horse when we put a halter on them: riding/work, vet, farrier, deworming, shots, clipping, etc. When you look at it from the horse's point of view, "Golly, do I want to put this thing on and get a shot or do I want to hang out and eat grass..." you can see where he might not be overly enthusiastic (and can you blame him?)
WHO'S WHO: I wasn't fast enough on the shutter to capture the halter before the head drop (ours have gotten SO cooperative about it, their noses have dropped into the halter about a nanosecond after it's open :o) From left to right: Shadow, Lady and Taya. Lady was the worst one ; we used to have to walk for what seemed like forEVER before we'd manage to corner her and she'd give up. Since Taya learned this at the age of 5 months and Lady learned it at 15 years, I think it's safe to say the halter drill works with pretty much anyone.
Treats are terrific! - The shortest distance between two points being a straight line (to the tummy :o)
These bite sized treats are perfect for rewarding your horse ~ we keep a stash handy at all times :o)
Okay ~ Let's get this party started! - Here's what you need
1. Worm Paste (well, duh :o) We stick ours in a 9oz plastic cup (um, just a regular one - the party cup with balloons was just for fun in the photo).
2. A 3oz plastic bathroom cup and a small binder clip to hold it (the little paper ones will NOT survive this).
3. Some all natural molasses from the grocery store (or your baking stash).
4. A can of handi-wipes (because even when they eat it voluntarily it's pretty messy (ours came from the Dollar Store :o)
5. A small tote; plastic works best as you can wipe it off if it gets dirty...and you know it will (ours came from the Dollar Store).
** RIBBONS AND COWBOY CONFETTI ARE OPTIONAL **
Taking it from the top... - Yeah, it was an awful pun (but I'll bet it made somebody out there laugh)
The cups (one for The Girls and one for the Moo Crew) holding the tubes of paste and the can of handi-wipes fit perfectly in an old tupperware container (I lost the lid way back when, so I re-purposed it :o)
Attach the plastic bathroom cup to the end of your tote using the binder clip (this is for the molasses).
I always set all the wormers for the correct weight before I go outside and write each horse's name on the end with a Sharpie.
DO NOT automatically administer the whole tube of dewormer - those weights are on the tubes for a reason. You CAN potentially hurt your horse by overdosing! Purchase a horse tape if you are unsure of your horse's weight - they're very inexpensive and extremely handy.
Don't just estimate ~ be sure! - Weight tapes are inexpensive and simple to use
Take the wonder out of worming and be sure you gave the right dose. These weight tapes are easy to use, and inexpensive enough that you can keep a couple on hand.
Got your guest list?
Our horses are in two separate areas. For whatever reason, none of "The Girls" like the taste of the molasses; they do much better with straight worm paste administered in the traditional manner. We do them first because they're right outside the door (literally) and because they are not quite as excited about deworming time as the Moo Crew.
When The Girls are done, we head out to the pasture to do the rest of the herd. The Moo Crew, however, is not as picky as the girls (their thinking generally goes more like this: "If it's there, I'm eating it :o)
Shadow is the only exception to this rule; he likes the molasses but not the wormer (of course his issues may be more related to his traumatic past than anything). Retta is coming along nicely and has gone from wiggling everywhere and doing the giraffe to standing still and leaving her head in this zip code (as long as I hold her halter, but even that's gone from death grip to lightly so we should be able to completely ditch the halter after another party or two :o)
Getting The Girls dewormed
TIPS: The key is to slide the tube as far back as you can along the side of the mouth so it goes down fast). Holding a treat directly in front of a nostril immediately afterward can encourage them to chew and swallow - don't feed it to them, however, as the paste will cause it to taste funny (and they'll just spit it out).
1st Photo: Lady is pretty good about taking hers (she doesn't like it, but accepts it).
2nd Photo: Rina and I have come to an agreement; she'll take the paste easily if I hand twitch her nose (she will literally "give me" her nose by pushing it in my hand the minute she sees the tube - a bit strange, but it works for us :o)
3rd Photo: Taya is the best one of the girls for taking her medicine.
4th Photo: Bella's head has to be held up for several minutes after receiving her dose; she keeps it stored somewhere in there and can spit it back out a long time after she should have swallowed.
Next Up: The Moo Crew
Party Time - With some dip for the dips (Heh heh heh)
Deworming the Moo Crew
Considering the short length of time it takes to dose them, we had a hard time capturing the exact moment on film (you get the idea though, right? :o)
1st Photo: Champ will not only eat the paste, he'll take the whole tube with him if you're not careful!
2nd Photo: Max was happy to be "served" next.
3rd Photo: Cinnamon slurped his up so fast we missed the photo shot (we almost had it though!)
4th Photo: Shadow making his icky medicine face (he usually pouts for about an hour afterward, before he decides to forgive us :o)
5th Photo: Retta gets the most improved award! When she first arrived, it was an awful lot like deworming a giraffe. That nose of hers used to stretch about a mile high into the sky (you see where it is now though, right? ;o)
We made a silly video
Although it is NOT actually 9 minutes long (I did that somehow; just don't ask how :o)