How to Deworm Horse: Guide for Beginners

deworming a horse

Horse deworming is a necessary task that every horse owner should perform regularly to ensure the health and well-being of their equine companion. Worms can cause a variety of health issues in horses, including colic, weight loss, and poor coat condition. Deworming horses is essential to prevent these issues and maintain the horse’s overall health.

What is Horse Deworming?

Horse deworming is the process of administering medication to horses to eliminate internal parasites, also known as worms. These parasites can be harmful to the horse’s health and can cause a range of problems if left untreated.

How Often to Deworm a Horse?

The frequency of horse deworming depends on various factors such as the age of the horse, the number of horses on the property, and the management practices. Generally, it is recommended to deworm horses once or twice a year, but this can vary depending on the situation. It is also essential to consult with a veterinarian to develop a deworming schedule that suits the horse’s specific needs.

Different Types of Worms in Horses

There are several types of worms that can infect horses. Some of the most common types include:

  • Bloodworms (large strongyles): Bloodworms are large parasites that live in the horse’s arteries, mainly the cranial mesenteric artery. The larvae of bloodworms are ingested by the horse when grazing on contaminated pastures. The larvae then travel to the intestine, penetrate the intestinal wall, and migrate through the bloodstream to the arteries.
  • Small strongyles: Small strongyles are small, red worms that live in the horse’s large intestine. The horse can become infected by ingesting larvae that are present in contaminated pasture grass, hay, or water. The larvae then travel through the intestinal wall and form cysts, where they develop into adult worms.
  • Roundworms (ascarids): Roundworms are common in young horses and can cause blockages in the intestines. Horses become infected by ingesting eggs that are present in contaminated feed, water, or pasture grass. The eggs then hatch in the horse’s small intestine, and the larvae travel to the lungs, where they develop further before migrating back to the small intestine.
  • Pinworms: Pinworms are tiny worms that live in the horse’s rectum and anus. Horses become infected by ingesting the eggs found in contaminated pastures, water, or feed. The eggs hatch in the horse’s digestive tract, and the larvae mature into adult worms that can cause intense itching and irritation.
  • Tapeworms: Horses become infected with tapeworms by ingesting the intermediate host, which is usually an infected mite found in contaminated pastures. The mite is ingested by the horse during grazing, and the tapeworms develop in the horse’s digestive tract.
  • Threadworms: Threadworms are small, thin worms that can cause severe inflammation and blockages in the horse’s digestive tract. Horses become infected with threadworms by ingesting the eggs found in contaminated pastures, feed, or water. The eggs hatch in the horse’s digestive tract, and the larvae mature into adult worms that can cause significant health issues.

How to Deworm a Horse?

Deworming horses involves administering a medication that kills the internal parasites. There are several methods of deworming horses, including:

  • Paste Wormers: Paste wormers are the most common form of deworming medication for horses. They come in a tube and are administered orally. The dosage depends on the horse’s weight.
  • Pelleted Wormers: Pelleted wormers are mixed with the horse’s feed, making it easy to administer. They are also available in different forms, such as daily feed additives or bi-monthly treatments.
  • Injectable Wormers: Injectable wormers are given by a veterinarian and are often used for horses with severe infestations.
  • Rotational Deworming: Rotational deworming involves alternating between different types of deworming medication to target different types of parasites. This method is not recommended as it can lead to drug resistance.

How Much does it Cost to Worm a Horse?

The cost of worming a horse can vary depending on several factors, including the type of dewormer used, the frequency of deworming, and the number of horses being treated. It is also important to factor in the cost of fecal egg count (FEC) tests, which are used to determine the level of parasite infestation in the horse.

Typically, a standard paste dewormer can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per dose, depending on the brand and the amount needed for the horse’s weight. injectable dewormers can cost more, ranging from $30 to $100 per dose. Pelleted wormers are also available and can cost around $25 to $90 per dose.

In terms of FEC tests, the cost can vary depending on the laboratory or veterinarian performing the test. Typically, an FEC test can cost around $30 to $50 per test. Some veterinarians may offer packages or discounts for multiple horses or frequent testing.


In conclusion, horse deworming is an essential aspect of horse care that every horse owner should prioritize. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and administer the medication correctly to ensure its effectiveness. By implementing a regular deworming program, horse owners can help prevent health issues and maintain their horse’s overall well-being.


Should you deworm a horse before or after eating? 

Recommended to deworm a horse before feeding. This is because the deworming medication needs to be absorbed and metabolized in the horse’s digestive tract, and feeding shortly after deworming can interfere with this process.

How do you know when to deworm your horse?

Horses should be dewormed once or twice a year. However, the exact timing of deworming will depend on your horse’s individual needs, as well as their environment and risk factors for parasites.

What to do after deworming a horse?

After deworming a horse, it is generally recommended to wait for a few days before returning the horse to its original pasture. This is to allow any remaining parasites to pass through the horse’s system and reduce the risk of re-infection.

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