Logo for Bakewell Veterinary Clinic in DerbyshireA veterinary practice in Derbyshire has reminded horse owners of the importance of responsible worming routines after the death of an apparently healthy horse from severe worm damage.

A number of websites including Horse & Hound and Smallholder have reported how Kirsty MacGregor, MRCVS, of Bakewell Veterinary Practice, was called out to a six-year-old horse that had died suddenly in a field earlier this year.

A post mortem revealed that death was caused by ‘verminous thromboembolism’ – a fatal blood clot caused by severe worm damage.

The horse had appeared normal before he was turned out. He was outwardly healthy and had relatively good body condition.

But Ms MacGregor said: “The large intestine was loaded with encysted small strongyle larvae and there was evidence that other worms had migrated to the arteries and the liver, causing inflammation and damage. The horse also had lesions in the small intestine, which, although common, are likely to be associated with parasite migration and chronic gastric ulceration in this case.”

In the wake of this tragic case, Bakewell Veterinary Practice has listed a number of tips which include:

  • Learn about the main types of worms affecting horses.
  • Choose the worming product most appropriate for the parasite you are targeting, by looking at the chemical ingredients of each wormer.
  • Make sure you are using the correct dose for the weight of your horse.
  • Worm any new horses before they mix with existing animals.
  • Keep stables hygienic and clean feed buckets well.
  • Promptly collect and dispose of dung from fields – at least every week – as this will significantly cut down the number of worm larvae getting on to the pasture.