Worming Care & Advice
The best worming care for horses has changed over the years and we no longer recommend the traditional approach of worming horses at set intervals throughout the year. This method led to a lot of unnecessary treatments and a significant rise in the incidence of resistance to worming products. We now recommend a more targeted approach using worm egg counting and tapeworm saliva testing.
The benefits of this more targeted approach include: avoiding unnecessary treatments, saving money and reducing the amount wormer resistance present.
• Interval Worming is no longer considered suitable.
• Targeted worming should cover 4 feacal egg counts and 1 tapeworm saliva test between February and November.
• Faecal samples can be submitted to a vet and we will have results back to you within 48 hours.
What is resistance?
Resistance occurs when the parasites are no longer effectively killed by the use of wormers. What leads to resistance? Resistance occurs as a natural effect of mutations when the worms reproduce. When we overuse worming products the resistant worms are the only ones that survive eventually making the whole population resistant and making the treatments ineffective. Under-dosing of worms by under-estimating the weight helps partially resistant worms to survive which in turn increases the amount of fully resistant worms.
What is targeted worming?
At most yards a simple protocol of regular worm egg counts on each animal through the grazing season is sufficient to identify which animals will need treatment (typically only 1 in 10 animals tested). Typically, if the worm egg count is 200eggs per gram or less we consider that to be ok and that no treatment is needed. Generally we recommend 4 egg counts through the course of the grazing season. Whilst this is appropriate in most scenarios we also have to consider how often there are new arrivals at the yard , whether there has been any worm associated disease recently, if there is any known resistance to wormers and what the current management regime is in order to determine an individual, tailored plan moving forward.
Practical management tips to reduce worm burden at your yard?
• ‘Poo Pick’ at least twice weekly
• Avoid Harrowing and other activities that spread horse faeces onto fields.
• Avoid overstocking
• Rotate grazing with sheep and cattle
• Avoid moving horses to new pastures in the 2 weeks after they have been wormed.
• Regularly muck out stables with foals in
• Treat mares prior to foaling with Ivermectin
How to take a worm egg count sample
1. Feaces should be collected between March and November
2. Collect several small amounts in total collecting an amount about the same size as a lemon.
3. Seal in an airtight container.
4. Store in the fridge or a cool place.
5. Hand the sample to a vet or call the office to arrange drop off/posting.