One of my horse’s larger problems is that she is allergic to pain. She basically hates anything that hurts, bites, stings, or doesn’t feel good. Deworming falls into those catergories. Some horses don’t put up a fuss at all about deworming; I don’t think it’s uncommon, though, for a horse to hate deworming.
For those of you that don’t know, deworming is the act of giving your horse a very small amount of paste in a tube that kills any worms they may have picked up in the pasture. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but apparently it tastes horrible!
To give dewormer, you buy the little syringe that already has the paste in it (it’s white and looks like toothpaste). You stick it in the corner of their mouth, keeping it pushed as far back into the mouth as you can (they will try to spit it out). Then you simply push the end, and the gross stuff squirts in. No biggy, right?
Wrong. I’ve heard from several people that using a syringe filled with molasses was a good way to ‘desensitize’ to deworming. I tried that. To my horror, Chocolate, who had never tasted molasses, still didn’t believe that it wasn’t dewormer. She balked at first. I tried again. But this time, she flew backwards, her hoof shot out, and before I knew it, I was lying on the ground. The next week, a pretty sore bruise broke out on my side where her hoof struck me.
The vet was pretty horrified that my own horse had struck me. He gave the horse’s the dewormer that time, but he was very rough with them, backing them into a corner and shoving it in. The horse’s, I’m sure, will never forget that.
I was tired of trying different things, and scared that I would get hurt. And, to my dismay, the vet instructed me to deworm at least every two to three months, because of the size of our pasture. To give you some perspective, most horses only need deworming every six months.
There was only one thing I could think of: make them want it. Make it taste good, and it would be so much easier. So I did just that. With their daily grain (plus maybe a little, I really wanted this to work), I squeezed the tube of dewormer in and mixed it up really good, adding just a little bit of molasses to help mask the taste. And you know what? It worked. They gobbled it up and never had a clue.
Deworming is now about the easiest health-related chore we regularly have to do!