Worming horses with chemical products is a controversial topic. Horse owners want to rid their noble steeds of parasites, but at the same time hope to avoid the potentially toxic effects of the worming agent. Many horse owners have turned to diatomaceous earth, the crushed shells or cell walls of minuscule members of the algae family known as diatoms. Mammals, including horses, can safely consume food-grade diatomaceous earth, but it slices the exoskeleton of insects and internal parasites such as worms, dehydrating and killing them. It is a viable natural worming alternative.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Diatomaceous earth
- Tbsp measure
- Horse food
Add 1/2 cup diatomaceous earth to the horse's food daily, preferably mixed with water or a moist feed or supplement to prevent the horse from breathing the dust. Feeding 1 to 2 tbsp twice a day is ideal.
Check the horse's stool for symptoms of worm infestation (eggs or worms) after two or three weeks. Check the sample visually or take it to your equine veterinarian for a more accurate count.
Increase the dosage to one cup if the worms are still evident. If there are no signs of worms, continue at the regular dosage or stop for a time. Repeat every three months.
Alternatively, give the horse a constant supply of diatomaceous earth for free choice eating by mixing it with herbs or other supplements and placing it in free choice buckets.
Tips and warnings
- Use only food grade diatomaceous earth.
- Diatomaceous earth is also available as a blend with other natural products, making it even more beneficial and reducing the powdery nature of the substance.
- Wolf Creek Ranch encourages a slow introduction to diatomaceous earth to avoid a detox reaction from a rapid killing of parasites and worms.
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture states that some worms in grazing animals are normal. The point of worming is to keep them at a manageable level.
- Use of diatomaceous earth as a wormer is controversial. Be sure to bring your questions to a reliable veterinarian knowledgeable in the use of natural equine maintenance and cures.
- Diatomaceous earth is an extremely fine powder which is harmful when inhaled excessively.
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