hello! i have a question about horses. in a post-apocalyptic world with only some (not a lot) of chemists/labs to make drugs, is there a way to deworm a horse? it's been thirty years since a societal collapse in my story, so i doubt vet medicine is high on the list of readily available things, but i assume people did it somehow before commonly-available chemical dewormer. thank you for making this resource!
Thirty years is a long time, and necessity is the mother of invention.
What I’m trying to say is that whether or not there has been any recovery of veterinary medicine will depend on whether animals are important to the surviving humans. It may not be top of the priority list in a survival situation to make sure the moggy is free of fleas, but if you new civilization has become dependent on draft animals for agriculture and farming, then the care of those animals will become more important. Maintaining their health becomes akin to maintaining a car.
Unfortunately there isn’t a nice, convenient, natural de-wormer growing anywhere that you can just harvest and feed the horse. Sure it would be nice, but all the ‘natural’ horse de-wormers just don’t work.
So, you might ask, how did wild horses avoid having worms?
Well, they don’t. They have low levels of worms and become moderately resistant to them. So the question we should ask next is how can you replicate this in the modern horse.
Basically a wild horse will eat, poop, travel a few kilometers away, and eat some more.
A domestic horse in a paddock will eat, poop, trample that poop through its paddock, and eat some ore.
Given that worms are generally shedding their eggs in faeces, and the horse is then re-infected by consuming either those eggs or the recently hatched larvae, the horse in the paddock who is pooping on his food is going to have a much higher worm burden than a roaming horse.
So how can you stop a horse from being reinfected? The best solutions humans have developed are basically to ‘rest’ the paddock and convince some other species to eat all those infective worm eggs and larvae.
This is called paddock rotation and is widely used in permaculture. In the absence of modern agricultural chemicals and technology, I suspect your surviving humans would benefit significantly from permaculture techniques.
Basically, the paddock rotation method works like this:
- Horses in paddocks contaminate it with eggs of horse worms.
- Horses removed.
- Second species in rotation added.
- 2nd species eat horse worm eggs, contaminate paddock with 2nd species worm eggs.
- 2nd species removed.
- Third species in rotation added.
- And so on until you get back to returning horses to the paddock.
You do need multiple paddocks fenced off for this method, but they don’t have to be very big. Generally a 2 week rotation will get decent worm control results.
The more different the species you’re rotating between, the less cross over you’ll get between parasitic worms. For example sheep and goats share many worms, but sheep and cattle share less, and sheep and chickens/geese even less.
It’s not perfect, and requires some human labor, but very little equipment other than fences and a plan.
Really it would be great to have someone who can make moxidectin, ivermectin and something like
benzimidazole, but chemistry is not my forte. You should pop over to @scriptchemist she see if they have any advice.