Indestructible Tapeworms?

Kaitlynf910

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2019
29
40
41
I'm new here and I am about to tell you a story of indestructible tapeworms and a fairly new mother hen at the end of her rope. And ask a question or two. And yes...its probably going to be unnecessarily long.

A few months ago, I found tapeworms (verified) in my chickens poop for the first time. There were like 19 chickens at that point. I got valbazen and gave them all 1/2 cc each, 5 days apart, like I was told to do. They all get ACV in their water constantly as well. I've always done that. But other than the valbazen (which i know is a wormer that treats TW), I didnt know to do anything else. So when I didnt see any more segments in the days following, I thought I was golden.

Fast forward to last week. Those god forsaken segments were back. We've been downsizing the flock and getting rid of roosters so we only have 9 chickens now. Anyways, APPARENTLY you're supposed to treat the ground too. I figured that's what I missed. So last Sunday I give dose one of round 2 of valbazen. Monday I find dead roundworms in their poop. Gross. But I haven't seen any of those since. Over the next few days I VERY thoroughly clean the coop. All the poop, all the hay/shavings, all the nesting boxes, even a hefty portion of the top layer of dirt in there. One day sprayed permethrin. Next day showered the place in diatomaceous earth. On Friday (day 5), they got dose 2 of valbazen. Saturday I did the DE all over again just in case, because it rained and it does blow in the coop sometimes. Overkill? Maybe. But I just want these suckers gone. Then sunday...sunday i find segments. I pause my meltdown and convince myself that although they were moving, they were dying and that's the last of them. Gotta come out somehow right? I don't see any more the next couple days. Now it's wednesday and I literally just saw a poop with like 20 segments on/in it. Some of them didn't appear to be moving and some were moving very slowly.

Here come the questions.
1) Do I give them a 3rd dose of Valbazen? If so, do I give it 5 days apart (today) like the ones before?
2) If they are somehow resistant to valbazen, what else gets rid of tapeworms? I know that not all wormers are created equal as far as TW goes.
3) What am I doing wrong here?! I've followed all instructions. They can't free range but they have more than enough space! Their coop stays clean an dry unless we have sideways rain. Even then there are no puddles and it dries out quickly. They get regular layer. They don't get too many treats. They're as spoiled as chickens could be. Why are we having worm issues?

Someone help me please. CASPORTPONY I tagged you because MrsB told me you have all the answers. Lol.
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
7 Years
Apr 9, 2014
3,046
12,150
692
N. California
Tapeworms get into your chickens via an intermediary host -- typically beetles, ants, flies, or earthworms. Basically your chicken poops out the tapeworm segment, the intermediary host eats the segment, and the chicken then eats the intermediary host. To complicate things, there are many different types of tapeworms, and each type usually has a different host. It takes about 2 weeks from the time a chicken eats a host insect, until you start seeing segments in the droppings.

So, if you are seeing tapeworms again, it might not because the drugs didn't work, it's because after you completed treatment, the chickens went out and found more insects who acting as carriers for tapeworms. That's why tapeworms are so difficult to eliminate.

It sounds like you have done all you can to eliminate insects on the ground your chickens are on. It's tough, because insects and flies are mobile and hard to eliminate altogether.

If it's an option, talk to your vet and see if there is way to determine, from the segments in the droppings, what type of insect is acting as the intermediate host. For example, if it is flies, setting up some fly traps might help. Also, when you remove droppings -- particularly droppings with segments in them, put them somewhere as far from your coop as possible, or bag them up, so that the insects and worms can't get to them. Otherwise you might be having flies and insects happily moving from the compost pile where the droppings are, to the yard where the chickens are.

How are your chickens doing, by the way? Not all tapeworms are equally harmful to chickens and not all chickens are equally susceptible to unhealthy levels of infestation.
 

Kaitlynf910

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2019
29
40
41
The chickens themselves seem fine. I mean I have a couple that are taking forever to lay, but other than that nobody seem “ill”. I just don’t want them to get that way you know?

Tapeworms get into your chickens via an intermediary host -- typically beetles, ants, flies, or earthworms. Basically your chicken poops out the tapeworm segment, the intermediary host eats the segment, and the chicken then eats the intermediary host. To complicate things, there are many different types of tapeworms, and each type usually has a different host. It takes about 2 weeks from the time a chicken eats a host insect, until you start seeing segments in the droppings.

So, if you are seeing tapeworms again, it might not because the drugs didn't work, it's because after you completed treatment, the chickens went out and found more insects who acting as carriers for tapeworms. That's why tapeworms are so difficult to eliminate.

It sounds like you have done all you can to eliminate insects on the ground your chickens are on. It's tough, because insects and flies are mobile and hard to eliminate altogether.

If it's an option, talk to your vet and see if there is way to determine, from the segments in the droppings, what type of insect is acting as the intermediate host. For example, if it is flies, setting up some fly traps might help. Also, when you remove droppings -- particularly droppings with segments in them, put them somewhere as far from your coop as possible, or bag them up, so that the insects and worms can't get to them. Otherwise you might be having flies and insects happily moving from the compost pile where the droppings are, to the yard where the chickens are.

How are your chickens doing, by the way? Not all tapeworms are equally harmful to chickens and not all chickens are equally susceptible to unhealthy levels of infestation.
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,654
11,118
611
North Florida
Valbazen works for some types of tapeworm, but some are resistant to it. A medication containing praziquantel is better. Equimax paste (for horses) or Zymectrin Gold are both commonly used. Equimax is the best bang for the buck. And then try to reduce the numbers of whatever intermediate host you seem to have. The Valbazen most likely took care of the round worms.

Most cost effective way to treat tapes is with Equimax Paste for horses. Dose is 0.03 ml per pound orally and repeat in 10 days (6 pound bird would get ~0.2 ml, which is 1/5 ml).

One can also use Zimectrin Gold, but you have to use much more of it, so it ends up being more expensive. Dose is 0.06 ml per pound orally and repeat in 10 days (6 pound bird would get ~0.35 ml).

Since you know you have an ongoing issue, I would get a fecal done in about 6 months to check for reinfection (unless you see signs earlier), to see how often you may need to retreat. Roundworms are really easy to pick up in the environment, so you may have to worm regularly to keep them controlled, you will not always see them in the droppings. You may be able to worm once or twice a year and keep them controlled, it just depends on your environment and the load. I have to worm every 3 months here for them.
 

Morrigan

Free Ranging
7 Years
Apr 9, 2014
3,046
12,150
692
N. California
The chickens themselves seem fine. I mean I have a couple that are taking forever to lay, but other than that nobody seem “ill”. I just don’t want them to get that way you know?
I'm really glad to hear your chickens are doing OK. I can understand your concern but try to worry too much. It is not necessarily the case it will get worse for them. It depends a lot on the kind of tapeworms you have and on the chickens. I read one study where the researchers attempted to heavily parasite chickens with tapeworms in order to study the effect on the chickens health, but were unable to do so, as the chickens developed a resistance to the worms. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/16477615.pdf

It really sounds like you've done your level best to get rid of these things. If you want to have another go at the medication, you may try to time your next round of medication to a time of the year when insect activity is naturally at a minimum.

I know that @dawg53 has successfully dealt with tapeworms and gives great advice on timing/dosing of medications.
 

pibb

Songster
Dec 12, 2018
708
831
207
Tennessee
I got valbazen and gave them all 1/2 cc each, 5 days apart, like I was told to do.

Where did you get those instructions?
For tapeworms and Valbazen instructions I have:
0.16 ml of Valbazen per lb of chicken weight once per day for 3 consecutive days. Withhold feed for 24 hours beforehand. Retreat in 10-14 days.

I don't know exactly where I got those instructions but they were from researching this site.

As stated above Praziquantel is best to use for tapeworms.
 

Kaitlynf910

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2019
29
40
41
I can’t remember where exactly I got the numbers from but it was a combination of places I’m sure. I’ve noticed you can find many bits of info at least once somewhere. I research a lot and make sure I get the exact same info from multiple good sources before I trust it. I do believe I initially got that info (1/2 ml for standard sized chickens and 1/4 ml for bantams) here on this site. But I think a friend who has been doing this a long time told me the same. Followed by a post in Houston BYC on Facebook to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And then I found the 5 day part in several places but only referring SPECIFICALLY to treating tapeworms. Not roundworms or anything else. Those are longer. I also verified the info with a friend who is very knowledgeable and says @casportpony is her chicken guru. Lol. So I’m guessing she has asked her this before.

If I’m incorrect about that dosage, I’d love to know. I’m definitely open to constructive criticism here. I’ve done a lot of research and asked a lot of questions, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t come out with the wrong answer.

Where did you get those instructions?
For tapeworms and Valbazen instructions I have:
0.16 ml of Valbazen per lb of chicken weight once per day for 3 consecutive days. Withhold feed for 24 hours beforehand. Retreat in 10-14 days.

I don't know exactly where I got those instructions but they were from researching this site.

As stated above Praziquantel is best to use for tapeworms.
 

Kaitlynf910

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2019
29
40
41
Thank you!!! I’ll definitely try the equimax then. It’s funny you say that about worming regularly. It honestly only seems like it’s one or two that continue to have tapes, but I don’t know which one(s). I wondered whether it was my chocolate Orpington and one of my EE. The reason being that the lady I got them from wormed them every 2 months and I found that odd. I wondered if maybe they became immune. I know she used Safeguard goat wormer at least sometimes but idk if she switched it up.

So I guess the general consensus is NO 3rd dose of valbazen. I’ll just have to get something else. How long should I wait before I try something new?

Valbazen works for some types of tapeworm, but some are resistant to it. A medication containing praziquantel is better. Equimax paste (for horses) or Zymectrin Gold are both commonly used. Equimax is the best bang for the buck. And then try to reduce the numbers of whatever intermediate host you seem to have. The Valbazen most likely took care of the round worms.

Most cost effective way to treat tapes is with Equimax Paste for horses. Dose is 0.03 ml per pound orally and repeat in 10 days (6 pound bird would get ~0.2 ml, which is 1/5 ml).

One can also use Zimectrin Gold, but you have to use much more of it, so it ends up being more expensive. Dose is 0.06 ml per pound orally and repeat in 10 days (6 pound bird would get ~0.35 ml).

Since you know you have an ongoing issue, I would get a fecal done in about 6 months to check for reinfection (unless you see signs earlier), to see how often you may need to retreat. Roundworms are really easy to pick up in the environment, so you may have to worm regularly to keep them controlled, you will not always see them in the droppings. You may be able to worm once or twice a year and keep them controlled, it just depends on your environment and the load. I have to worm every 3 months here for them.
 

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