What Are Tapeworms In Horses?

Tapeworm in horses, or worms in general, are not exactly a dinner table subject. But for horse owners, worms are a part of regular care and maintenance. Tapeworms are an easily treated parasite, and typically well-tolerated by horses, all things considered. 


What are Tapeworms?

Equine tapeworms (Anoplocephala perfoliata) sound horrifying. But the truth is, tapeworms are typically present wherever horses have access to pasture or turnout. There are three species of tapeworms that will infect horses.

Tapeworm in Horses Life Cycle

They use an intermediate host for the development state. In the case of the most common tapeworm, it is an oribatid mite.


Most horses will not even experience discomfort. However, new studies have shown chronic parasites put horses at a greater risk for spasmodic colic and impaction at the lower end of the small intestine.

Testing for Horse Tapeworm

standard testing for most equine parasites is a fecal test. But recently experts found the McMaster technique of counting eggs in fecal matter misses more than 90% of infected horses!.

Treatment for Tapeworm in Horses

Of the multiple dewormers available, only two treat tapeworms. The first is praziquantel. This is available as a stand-alone dewormer or in combination with ivermectin or moxidectin.

Although no longer considered harmless, tapeworms can cause problems if left untreated. It is important to determine a regular deworming schedule for the prevention and treatment of parasites. Luckily, tapeworms are easy to manage and do not typically require veterinary assistance.


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