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Are Worm Burdens in Horses Really “Natural”?

Transcript

Hi Everyone. This is Gizelle Hamilton, founder of Sacred Horse and today what I’m going to be talking with you about is worm infestations and whether it is in fact normal and natural for horses to always carry a low-level worm burden.

The reason I’m talking to you about this today is because it’s the opinion of a number of my colleagues who are Equine Naturopaths and Herbalists, but not all of them, that it is normal and acceptable for horses to always have a worm burden.

Now there are a couple of reasons that they have this opinion. The first is obviously, out in nature, unaffected by humans, a horse will always have a worm burden, hence it is normal.

The second reason is that as horses age they actually develop their own natural resistance to worms, so you might find that your 30 year old horse doesn’t have a worm burden at all even though other horses on the property, particularly young horses, do you have a worm burden.

The third reason though, is that herbal anthelmintics, which are herbs which are used to expel worms, don’t work as quickly and as effectively as chemical wormers do. They can kill worms, they can stun worms so that the horse is able to process them through the digestive system and send them out with the faecal matter, but you actually need to use the wormers for quite a long period of time for them to be effective if it’s a herbal remedy.

The other thing is that the anthelmintics, the herbal anthelmintics don’t actually kill the worm eggs, so they’re very effective against worms but not the eggs which is why do you need to use a herbal anthelmintic for a very long period of time to kill the entire life cycle and so that once the eggs actually hatch you’re expelling the worms before they grow to maturity and before they’re able to lay new eggs.

So that’s the rationale that is used by Herbalists, some not all, to say that a worm burden is normal in a horse and look that might be your opinion as well and that’s perfectly fine, we’re all entitled to our opinion.

But my thoughts are this, a couple of hundred years ago it was entirely normal for humans to carry a low-level worm burden because we didn’t have the sanitation that we do now and life was different back then, but the thing is this, I wouldn’t allow myself or my children to have a worm burden now – not acceptable – because they’re obviously not able to get as much nutrition out of their food as they normally would and parasites can cause a range of problems beyond just taking the food from the animal, they actually cause quite a number of health problems for the animal and for your children and for yourself, so parasites are an issue in horses and my opinion is if you don’t want worms in your children you don’t want worms in your horse. So it is important that we need to keep on top of worms, eliminate the worm cycle and there are a number of ways that we can do this but it’s not something I’m going to discuss in today’s video.

What I might do is create another video another day and we can talk about the various worming options the natural options and the chemical options and strategies and techniques for not only getting rid of the worms but also preventing re-infestation of worms as best as we can.

So that’s all for today I’d love you to share your opinion and your thoughts on this topic.

Let me know what you think and whether you think that worm burdens are normal and natural in horses or whether you think it’s something that we do need to work on to eliminate. That’s all for today, this has been Gizelle Hamilton from Sacred Horse.

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