08: Recognizing Signs of a Heavy Parasite Load

Action: Be aware of the physical signs associated with common parasites.

Rationale: Despite the best monitoring and management, a horse may still be subject to a heavy parasite load at some point in it’s life. Being able to recognize the signs will enable prompt intervention and treatment.

Signs Caused by Common Parasites of Horses




Anemia, dry coat, diarrhea, general loss of condition


Loss of condition, bowel problems, or colic when present in large numbers; migrating roundworm larvae can also injure the lungs in young horses


Horse rubs its tail; itching and irritation around anus; discharge and worms visible around anus


Loss of condition and colic from large numbers in the gut; occasional diarrhea or constipation


Mild diarrhea, colic, failure to grow or put on weight as expected

Routine Health Care of Horses

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