Foal Care
 Delivery & Newborn Care
 Nutrition & Growth
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Deworming the foal.

Young foals are generally more susceptible to parasites than adult horses. Exposure begins early. One parasite, Strongyloides westeri, can be transferred in the mare's milk. Other parasite eggs can be shed in the dam's manure. Therefore deworming your mare shortly after foaling with a product effective against Strongyloides sp and a wide range of other parasites is recommended as the first step in protecting your foal from an overwhelming load of parasites.

While any worm can affect your foal, the most significant parasites are ascarids, also known as roundworms. Ascarids prey on the naïve immune systems of horses less than 18 months old and can cause depression, respiratory disease, stunted growth, diarrhea, constipation and potentially fatal colic. Immature ascarid larvae migrate through the foal’s lungs and liver (see chart below). Heavy burdens of adult roundworms can cause a life-threatening impaction in the foal’s small intestines. As the horse matures into his second year of life, he develops a heightened immune response to ascarids, and the threat greatly diminishes.

Ascarids Life Cycle

To ensure your foal stays healthy, the best procedure is to develop a regular parasite control program that never allows a large population of ascarids to become established.

Here are some guidelines:

Deworm with PANACUR® (fenbendazole) Paste at 10 mg/kg for the treatment of ascarids beginning at 6 - 8 weeks of age. PANACUR Paste is proven to be highly effective against ascarids and is an extremely safe product for foals. Repeat at two-month intervals during warm weather.

Work with your veterinarian to develop a strategic deworming program that incorporates other classes of deworming products at appropriate intervals. Click here for a deworming schedule customized for foals.

Use biannual fecal exams in weanlings and yearlings to evaluate the efficacy of your parasite control program. Discuss these results with your vet.

Use a weight tape to estimate your foal's weight and to ensure accurate dosing of all dewormers.

Pick up all manure frequently and dispose of used bedding. The high temperatures generated by composting can kill ascarid eggs.

Older foals on pasture should have creep feed and hay fed in raised containers in an attempt to decrease the number of parasite eggs ingested when horses graze directly off the ground.

Consult your veterinarian for the most effective deworming schedule for your area and region.

Keep track of it.

Click here for the Merck Animal Health Foal Care ProgramSM Deworming Record. It's the ideal place to keep track of your foal's deworming schedule. You can print it, or create an account and store your information electronically.