Blood Worms?

Ablaze is hanging in there, after he was gelded two days ago. By some stroke of luck, it was burning hot the day he was gelded, and it has been cold and windy since, so we have had no flies, and no rain, so no mud. It feels almost too perfect, I hardly dare say it out loud, for fear of jinxing it.

He is on mild pain medication, mostly to keep him from swelling up too badly, but the wound seem to be closing up almost without a hitch. It has hardly bled and there has been no lymph dripping down his legs, or anything… Am I supposed to believe that it can actually go this smoothly?

Yeah, I can freak out too, when things don’t go wrong. Welcome to my crazy brain…

On a slightly more annoying note, I was just notified that Marble has blood worms, Strongylus vulgaris. Here is where my head implodes. We have tested, and tested, and tested, since I got her in 2012. Marble had a huge problem with roundworms when I got her, and after that, my gang has taken turns coming up positive for tapeworms when I have had them tested, so yes, we have run tests, and followed all the rules, and even cheated a few times and had her treated out of schedule because of her Summer Sores.

The blood worm test always came back negative though, on all of them. Until now. I am left with one thought going through my head. How?

How did she get them?

For any horse to get blood worms, they have to pretty much eat manure of an infected horse, and none of my other horses are positive. Marble has not left home since 2012. So how the f*** can she all of a sudden be positive for blood worms?

I mean, sure, Saleem has been at a few shows, technically he could have brought them home. Only I never have him sleep over at events, I always bring him straight home, I don’t let him get too close to the other horses, mostly because I am terrified of bringing home some sort of virus, (13 years with Apollon fed my paranoia well,) and I sure as hell never let him poke around in other horses manure.

Even if I had done that, it can’t be him, because he was negative in his test. So how did she get them?

Life’s little mysteries. I hate those, did I mention that? Really, I don’t need mystery in my life, not like that.

So now I am going to drive myself crazy over this for the next three months, until we can take a control test, and see if we got the bastards, and yes, we are so testing all of my horses again, not just Marble. I have a huge amount of respect for worms, especially blood worms, they can cause so much damage.

And did I mention that I am one of those hysterical horse owners, who wants everything to be in perfect order at all times?

Actually, when I got my latest result, I was rather happy about it. Ablaze and Marble came up positive for tapeworms, (bloody hell,) but they were so low on the “ordinary” worm count that it almost made up for it. And for the first time ever, did Saleem and Apocalipse pass the test with no worms at all.

I have been worried about Apocalipse, because usually he is very high in his egg count, and I have been pestering my vet a lot about him being resistant to the treatment, but this time he proved me wrong, and didn’t even require treatment. Awesome, right?

Wrong. My first thought was darn it, what if the test was faulty somehow and he does have worms? He usually does, and now he is not treated? That did make me lose a few nights sleep, to be honest.

Clearly I am not happy unless my horses have a low egg count, but just high enough for them to require treatment. And the tapeworms, boy I would love to get them, once and for all.

But now, I got it my way, it would seem. With Marble coming up positive for blood worms, all of my horses require treatment, no matter what their egg count was, so Apocalipse and Saleem have now been treated as well, possibly for nothing, but that should make me happy right?

One must be careful what one wishes for. So, I got my worm treatment for all five horses, but at the cost of Marble having blood worms. It hardly seems worth it.

I must say though, that in the last two days, since Apocalipse got his treatment, he has gained weight. He is a very easy horse to spot the difference on, when he has worms and when he doesn’t, and somehow it didn’t feel right that he wasn’t treated. I have had far too much trouble lately, keeping him from losing weight. He is the kind of horse where you can see changes in his feed over night, and I know, two days since the worm treatment is not a long time, but with Apocalipse it is all I need to see the difference. He did have worms, even if he came up negative, I would bet my life on it.

I know it sounds strange, but I have a keen sense of my horses. I was not surprised that Ablaze and Marble had tapeworms this time, in fact if I should have guessed, I would have picked those two to be infected. And when my vet (who gelded Ablaze,) told me that one of my horses had blood worms, but she didn’t know who, and if I wanted to know I should call their worm expert, I instantly knew it was Marble. Not that I saw it coming, I really didn’t, but somehow it just made sense in my head.

I did call and had it confirmed, I would never go on instinct alone with something like this, but still. Marble is not looking shabby, she may have lost a bit of weight lately, but that can be contributed to her latest growth spurt. Other than that, she looks like a perfectly healthy three year old, and still I didn’t doubt for a second that it was her.

Sometimes I miss the good old days where you could buy treatment at the stores, whenever you felt like it. All this testing seems like a big waste of time, and clearly it is insufficient. You can’t really test for tapeworms, a horse can easily have them without coming up positive for them in the test, because of their cycle, which is why I can’t seem to kick them off my pasture. Because only those horses who are positive, gets treatment for tapeworms. So theoretically, all of my horses could have them, but only Ablaze and Marble got treatment for them, which means that if say, Apocalipse has them too, he goes untreated, and he can pass them right back to those who were treated.

Yeah, so many things that make my head implode. Tapeworms and the Danish law, for one.

I know I said that all my horses were treated once “I” had blood worms, but the tapeworm treatment is a different kind, and it is not included when you treat ordinary worms, blood worms or roundworms… (We did get the roundworms though, wuhu…! At least I think so. If one is to trust the test.)

I have been kicking and screaming over that for a while now, because in my world, once one horse comes up positive for tapeworms, one should treat the whole herd, but no. So far I am finding no loopholes with my vets here. Bloody law…

Okay I will stop now. I just feel so helpless sometimes. Like following the rules won’t get me anywhere, and even if I think I am doing everything I possibly can to make sure my horses gets the best treatment, I keep being prevented from doing what I know in my heart should be done, by a law created by people who know nothing of horses.

And I know, I am over reacting. Horses always have worms of some kind. We are managing our worms, we are keeping them from killing my horses, and so far, it is not a huge problem, but still….

Blood worms…



About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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8 Responses to Blood Worms?

  1. saraannon says:

    Sometimes immature bloodworms can form cysts in the small intestine or liver and hibernate there for years, and then suddenly erupt into the digestive tract- usually in the spring…

    • Starstone says:

      So she could have had them with her from the breeder? Because that would make a little sense to me… much more than her, suddenly “growing” them out of nowhere…

      • saraannon says:

        Yes, there is actually a fancy veterinary term for the encysted larva and their erupting into action that I don’t remember right now. And I too find it easier to deal with stuff when I have some understanding of what is going on and why;)

      • Starstone says:

        I am not sure my vets even know that, I asked them about a thousand times, how Marble suddenly could have bloodworms and they had no idea… I am going to have to run this by them the next time I talk to them 😉 hehe
        I need to understand what is going on, because I know that vets are only humans and they can’t know everything about everything. It is my job, as the owner of my horse, to make sure that something is not missed. I am the one who should specialise in my horse, if that makes sense 😉

      • saraannon says:

        Absolutely- when the veterinarian collaborates with the person who sees the horse every day and knows their history it is possible to prevent problems which is my priority. Western medicine is not good at sub-clinical health problems or prevention though and I hate waiting until the horse is so sick with such clear symptoms that anyone can diagnose…
        The encysted blood worms might be more common in certain areas- England and Australia are what pop into my head- and thoroughbreds get moved all over the world any more.

      • saraannon says:

        Yes, and it takes a very special kind of inquiring curious mind to be able to diagnose uncommon problems. The ones who are good at either end up as specialists or they don’t make through vet school!

    • Starstone says:

      you know, I love how you can always make my world make sense, whenever I am freaking out over something… thank you ❤

    • Starstone says:

      Marbles parents are imported from Egnland, as far as I know… so that’s not impossible… Either way, I am really glad it might be possible for her to have had them for a while, and missed our tests, without having a problem with our medication not working, because that was my next worry. If she had brought them from “home” why then, had all my treatments not killed them… so, thus far, I remain hopefull that I can get those little bastards kicked off my pasture once and for all, now that I know they are there 🙂

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