EPICENTRE - the newsletter for Exmoor Ponies in Conservation

Exmoor Ponies in Conservation Newsletter

Issue 1 Article 17

WORMS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

An Exmoor pony breeder recently contacted EPIC and asked if we could raise the issue of worm control in ponies grazing conservation sites. Also the news came to light of a warden who unfortunately lost two ponies on his reserve. The postmortem revealed extensive worm damage. An easily avoidable loss.

We obviously therefore should not be complacent and all need to look at this in more detail. Variables such as grazing ratios and the nature of the ponies ( ie. age, whether handled or not etc.) need to be considered when devising the most effective worm prevention programme as part of good management practice. It should be remembered that an Exmoor, just like any other pony, cannot make the best use of the available food source if carrying a heavy parasitic worm burden. Even one older pony who may be resistant to some extent to the effects of worms it is carrying itself and appears to be in good condition, will be a constant source of infection to the pasture, and the rest of the group.

Routine worm dosing, veterinary analysis of faeces samples, management of the pasture to minimise the spread of eggs, (can eggs be introduced on the soles of the boots of the many walkers who visit reserves??), biological control and prevention and the risk to the invertibrate population from using certain types of wormers are just some issues about which graziers need information and practical advice.

Have you something to contribute to this debate?