Ten Parasite Pointers
1) Spring and fall are good times to address parasites since once the eggs are swallowed in the fall they will prepare to hibernate in the intestinal walls or encyst to other organs for the winter. Then in the spring they begin to migrate out of the intestines and into the grass pastures to lay eggs.
2) Parasites produce toxins including ammonia; ammonia stresses the liver and kidneys, interferes with brain function and contributes to laminitis.
3) Encysted parasites are those parasites in the larval state that have formed a protective membrane around themselves and have migrated from the hindgut (large colon and cecum) through the intestinal walls and into the liver, kidneys and/or heart/arteries. If left untreated they are capable of causing many health problems: weight loss, a dull coat, poor appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, liver stress, leaky gut and colic.
4) Horses with long-term/heavily infested parasites will eventually end up with encysted larvae in the other organs – liver, heart, pancreas and kidneys. Encysts do not normally respond to herbal or homeopathic dewormers and must be chemically dewormed.
5) Most horses with long-term and/or heavy loads of parasites are anemic due to the blood loss. Low iron levels have a significant effect on overall health including lowering the resistance to parasites, contributing to chronic infections and depressing the immune system. Cases of anemia should always be treated with Iron-Up, an organic form of iron.
6) Chemical de-wormers, while sometimes necessary, do not always need to be administered as a full dose (i.e. entire syringe) for every horse. Mildly infected horses need less than a full dose and some horses, including those with encysts, will require a small amount repeated two or three times one to two weeks apart. Heavily infested horses also usually require more than one dose.
7) It is not necessary to “syringe” a horse with a chemical de-wormer – this is an invasive practice. Smaller doses can easily be hidden in feed and larger doses can be spread out throughout the day also hidden in feed.
8) Make use of the moon cycles which affect parasite behaviour. In the fall, de-worm a day before or just before the new moon at which time they are looking for hibernation.
9) No matter what de-worming program you are using – natural or chemical – make use of regular fecal analyses to show if your program is working or not. And don’t de-worm your horses unless they have worms and don’t use chemicals for prevention.
10) The best defense against parasites is a healthy hindgut with a balanced eco-system, adequate levels of important nutrients and a strong immunity. Horses with strong digestion and intestines are not attractive to parasites who must rely on weakening their host for optimum survival. In fact, it is estimated that only one-third of the herd actually carries the parasite loads.
A good digestive health program will keep any necessary chemical de-wormings to a minimum:
Hindgut Health Program
- a) No high sugar/grain feeds
- b) No oils
- c) No high protein
- d) Regular exercise
Natural Remedies & Supplements
Balances the eco-system, improves immunity, helps heal leaky gut.
- b) Para+Plus Herbal Blend – ¼ – ½ cup daily for 3 – 4 weeks; twice per year
Natural anti-parasitic, intestinal anti-biotic, anti-fungal; liver drainage.
- c) Iron-Up – 1-2 tsp (= 250-500 mg) as required for anemia.
Anemia, parasite resistance, energy, immunity, circulation.
- e) Vitamin B12 – 1 tsp daily = 6,000 mcg daily
Anemia, colon health, diarrhea, leaky gut, liver detoxifier.
- f) Folic Acid – 1 tsp daily = 10 mg daily
Anemia, parasite resistance, promotes the production of natural probiotics
“Riva’s Healing Spirit awakens the essence that resides within each one of us
– animal or human – the heart of which connects
and aligns us with the greater spirit that heals all”
Marijke van de Water, B.Sc., DHMS
Health & Nutrition Specialist
Medical Intuitive & Healer
Author & Educator
Healing Horses: Their Way
Healing People: The Marijke Method