Can Horses get Worms from Eating Hay?

It's official,  winter is well and truly underway ... horse's are being clipped, rugged up and are starting to come in over night. There's really nothing better then turning up at the yard with freezing cold hands and putting them inside your horse's rug ... talk about being warm and toasty! 

When the horses are in over night I supply them with big haynets to keep them occupied during the night, hay which came from our own fields. Which kind of got me wondering, could their be worm larvae or worms hidden within the hay, and even if the larvae are dead, could they cause a parasite problem? Should we be worming hay fed more horse's differently from those kept at grass?

Worms and larvae are typically transmitted in the field where eggs in a horse's poop hatch, become larvae and then climb up a grass stalk where they wait until they are ingested by a horse once again. Once ingested the cycle begins again. But there is only a certain amount of time worm larvae can survive outside of the horse's body and they must complete their life cycle (ie. be ingested) in order to survive. If this doesn't happen they shrivel up and die. 

A field should be harrowed frequently and horses should be moved to new pastures 24 - 36 hours after being wormed. This allows time for the worms to be passed through the body but limits the chance of the horse ingesting any of the worm eggs or larvae. 

Since hay takes a good while to grow any larve or eggs that have been on the pasture should be well dead by the time is cut and baled. So in theory even though their may be dead worms within the hay, these should cause no problems and shouldn't affect the horse or cause a worm burden. 

Ahhh at least that's one less thing to worry about! 

Horse worms in poo ... Gross!

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