Daily Horse Dewormer Pyrantel Tartrate Offers On-going Protection Against Parasites
Smart horse owners realize that controlling internal parasites is an essential part of equine health care. But did you know there is another option to just periodically using a paste dewormer?
That tube of paste dewormer, no matter what drug class it contains, is considered a "purge" dewormer.
A purge dewormer removes the susceptible stages of the parasites but doesn’t prevent new larvae from entering the horse to repeat the infection cycle, which is when most internal damage takes place.
A daily dewormer, on the other hand, is intended to protect the horse from parasite infections occurring in the first place.
"The purge dewormer removes the susceptible stages of the parasites that are already in the horse," notes Tom Kennedy, Ph.D., a veterinary parasitologist based in Westport, Wisconsin. He explains that a daily dewormer sets up a barrier between the horse and the worms to protect against the worms establishing new infections.
Simply put, a purge dewormer is treatment, while a daily dewormer offers protection.
How a Daily Dewormer Works
Pyrantel tartrate is a common active ingredient used in a daily dewormer. This particular anthelmintic (deworming drug) works in the horse's digestive tract by paralyzing parasite larvae that the horse has picked up in his environment. Because the parasites are killed before they can migrate through the horse’s digestive system, they aren’t able to inflict serious damage.
Daily feeding of a daily dewormer like Farnam's PyrantelCare Daily Dewormer 2.11% provides continuous protection against as many as 18 species and stages of equine parasites, including adult large strongyles, adult small strongyles and fourth stage larvae, pinworms, and adult ascarids and fourth stage larvae.
Continuous use of a daily dewormer reduces the number of female parasites laying eggs, meaning your horse should have less exposure to parasites in his environment.
Because pyrantel tartrate is not effective against bot fly larvae and tapeworms (cestodes), at least once a year you will still need to use a purge dewormer that is labeled as an effective bot fly and cestocidal product. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to do this based on your climate, region and your horse's exposure.
Starting a Daily Dewormer
"The earlier in the grazing season you start with a daily dewormer, the better the protection. Horses are already picking up parasites as soon as they're grazing," notes Kennedy.
"A lot of people use daily dewormer year round because their horses are exposed to parasites in the environment," he adds. "In Florida, for example, there can be good parasite transmission all through the winter."
Kennedy agrees with the recommendation of using a broad spectrum purge dewormer before starting a horse on daily dewormer.
The reason behind this step is to kill worms that may already be present and migrating through the horse. Your veterinarian can advise which class of dewormer drug you should use.
A daily dewormer like Farnam's PyrantelCare Daily Dewormer 2.11% (pyrantel tartrate) is safe for horses at all life stages, including foals.
"Especially in foals, ascarids are a big issue, so a daily dewormer protects from re-infection," notes Kennedy. "The earlier you can start daily dewormer, the better, (usually at the age of two to three months when they're eating grain), because it can offer an extra level of protection for ascarids and strongyles when used on young horses."
Daily dewormer is given based on the horse's weight, so you'll want to use a weight tape to get a close approximation of just how much your horse weighs. Then following label directions, simply mix the correct amount of daily dewormer medicated pellets into your horse's grain ration.
Remember that it must be given on a daily basis to provide continuous protection.
Many veterinarians recommend fecal egg count testing as a helpful tool to monitor the effectiveness of any deworming program. This testing is still useful if you are using a daily dewormer. Ask your veterinarian to explain how and when these simple tests should be performed.
Wide Margin of Safety
Pyrantel tartrate, the drug often used in daily deworming products, has a wide margin of safety in all ages of horses, including breeding stock. As Kennedy explains, this drug can even be used in pregnant mares and during lactation.
Pyrantel tartrate is not metabolized by the horse's body. Instead, it works directly on the neuromuscular system of parasite larvae that may be in the horse's gut and paralyzes them. These paralyzed larvae then pass out of the horse's body in the manure.
Another positive aspect to pyrantel-based daily dewormers is that parasite resistance has been slow to emerge compared to some other classes of deworming drugs.
At Bob Avila Quarter Horses in Scottsdale, Arizona, all horses are fed Farnam's PyrantelCare Daily Dewormer 2.11%.
Bob Avila is a legend when it comes to reining and working cow horses with multiple championships to his name and lifetime earnings of $381,339 NRHA and $1,113,022 NRCHA.
Avila is a strong proponent of daily deworming, having clearly seen the benefits for himself.
"I've been using daily dewormer for years and I think my horses have evened out more once I started using it," says Avila.
"When you use a (purge) dewormer, from the day you use it to the day you use it again, worms are building in the horse's system. You kill them off and they start building in the system again. With a daily dewormer, you're dealing with it every day, so they never really get started again," he notes.
"The first thing we do when a new horse comes into the barn is use a paste dewormer the first or second day. Then I start them right away on the daily dewormer," says Avila.
"I can see a big change in horses when they've been here about eight weeks. They don't fluctuate up and down in weight, they stay steady on the amount of feed they need, and they have a good hair coat," he notes. "I just know my horses look good."
Avila points out that while you can't see inside a horse's body, when a horse is healthy on the inside, it is obvious in his appearance on the outside.
"Deworming and a good nutrition program go hand-in-hand," adds Avila. "I dare anybody to argue with that one."
PyrantelCare is a registered trademark of Farnam Companies, Inc.
Life with Horses Newsletter
Sign up now to stay connected with free helpful horse care tips, product updates, and special offers.