Showing horses doesn’t start in the arena it is a 24/7 commitment to yourself and you horse. This includes exercise, nutrition and proper health maintenance.
Within the last few weeks I have noticed a large amount of horses coming down with pinworms. I know nothing about pinworms other than just the thought really grosses me out. I decided I needed to educate myself on these yucky little creatures in order to possibly prevent our Indie from getting them.
Here’s what I learned:
Pinworms have the most efficient life cycle of all the parasites that infect the horse. They don't migrate through any organ tissue, and they have developed a means of reproduction by which the eggs don't leave the herd of horses.
While the horse is relaxed or sleeping, female pinworms crawl out of the horse's rectum, deposit eggs and a sticky substance on the perianal region of the horse, and crawl back into the rectum. Infective pinworm eggs are ingested orally and, once in the colon, the larvae develop through various stages before becoming sexually mature in about five months. As horses migrate, they take the eggs and adults with them.
About the only damage that pinworms cause is itching of the tail head. This annoys the horse but doesn't threaten its life. Because pinworms spend their entire lives in the lumen of the intestine and don't migrate, they cause very little physical damage to the horse. Horses can have massive pinworm infections without exhibiting significant health problems.
To treat pinworms you will need to find a wormer with the active ingredients such as ivermectin, moxidectin, oxibendazole, pyrantel pamoate, pyrantel tartrate and fenbendazole.
To get an idea of what pinworms look like see the images below.
Humans cannot get pinworms, though you can spread them from horse to horse without proper washing. Wash, wash, wash your hands as well as any other it items you have used between horses. I currently have all my brushes in a bucket of bleach water soaking. You don’t need to panic by all means just be aware of cross contamination.
A great article on pinworms can be found at:
**I am not a veterinarian and all information I provided was taken from different web sites and books. If you believe your horse could have pinworms or any other health concerns always contact your veterinarian.