The 1st of September reminds us that summer is unfortunately over but before wallowing in disbelief lets get up to date with Autumn to do’s!
Below we’ve some tips and links to previous blogs to unsure you and your horse are Autumn ready!
- De-worming – Autumn like spring is a time to treat or test for tapeworm. Tapeworm has a bad reputation because in the last decade there has been advancement in understanding tapeworm and their role in equine colic and the damage they inflict on the horse. Tapeworms are pumpkins shaped parasites and are only 1-inch long and .5 inch wide. They have 4 suckers that allow them fiercely to attach to the horses intestinal lining where they absorb nutrients and damage surrounding tissue. Unlike other parasite tapeworm requires a host – the forage mite. Horses become infected when eating hay and grass containing these mites that develop into tapeworm in the horses intestines, the mite themselves ate infected with larvae.
- Bots – Keep your eyes peeled for bot fly eggs on your horses especially during August and September. In a previous blog we have spoken about how to deal with bot fly eggs but its very important if your horse was exposed to them to treat with the appropriate dewormer.
Treat or test – This is where having a detailed de-worming history comes into play. FWEC don’t commonly show up theses parasites however there is a saliva test new to market that will give you a definitive answer as to whether you need treat your horse with an anthelmintic. Young horses under 3 are particularly vulnerable to tapeworm. Your vet can also take a blood sample which may indicate the horse is fighting a burden, but this will be an educated guess on the vets behalf.
Treatment – It is believed best practice to treat for tape worm every 6 months unless your saliva test indicates your horse does not require treatment. The two drugs available for equine use are Praziquantel and Pyrantel (need to use as a double dose). I would always treat once a year and test 6 months later before treating again. Be careful when choosing summer and winter anthelmintic that they do not have praziquantel in it, as it can lead to parasite resistance if using praziquantel more than 3 times a year or continuously.
- Weaning – September is usually the best time to wean your mares and their foals born before May/June. Weanlings will still get some goodness from the grass and the weather won’t be too hard on them this time of year. The flys usually don’t cause a problem with mastitis come Autumn but precautions will have to be taken.
- Feed – Autumn is a good time to stock up in hay that you’ll need for the winter, ensure you have a dry place to store if and to avoid mould and damp keep hay off the ground and refrain from stacking against a wall. If your horse is in competition you may need to supplement the horse with feed as the nutritional value in the grass will fall during Autumn.
- Fields – It’s a good idea to identify what paddocks you will use in autumn and winter. Some section off paddocks in autumn to save some for the winter. Insure you are saving your driest paddocks. I try have winter paddocks near the stables and reliable water source in case water drinkers freeze. Most landowners cut their trees and hedges during this time of year, this will help eliminate the chances of tress falling into fields during gusty weather.
- Rugs – with the weather starting to change it’s a good idea to have clean and suitable rugs close to hand, commonly zero or light fill rugs for early Autumn so that when the weather really turns your horse can benefit from a larger fill rug. We have a rugging blog, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but beflow is a handy graph you might want to reference when applying a rug or visit the blog bu following this link:
- Mud rash & Rain scald – Preventions : Hygiene is a very important factor, both in treating the horse and preventing horses from getting this condition. Wash horses legs off once they come in from the field. Dry the legs off as well. Bacteria grows best in damp, warm conditions. If your horse has feathers unfortunately you will need to trim them off, clipping the legs off can help to allow drying. Many people swear by vaseline, pig oil, castor oil, even vegetable oil and/or cattle udder cream as well as over the counter barrier creams to prevent a flare up or bout of mud rash, similarly after clearing up the original infection these preventative measures can limit the chances of a flare up. We advise you find a convenient pro-active measure to keep flare up’s at bay. For more information on this including causes follow this link:
Enjoy Autumn – be prepared!