Are we building in redundancy ….. will wormers go on working?


Its hardly making headlines today but it should. We are helping build in redundancy of effective measures by arbitrarily worming horses rather than worming as and when necessary. So in the spring test your horses for Tapeworm and FEC for redworm and ascarids.

It is big news though that 81% of worming strategies not effective in fight against resistance. If you read this the other way round Horse Scout Blogger draws a conclusion that this means 81% of worming strategies are contributing to resistance to wormers.

According to research published on Country Wide Farmers showing that whilst 67% of horse owners believe they are protecting their horses from the rise of resistance, 81% of those asked are not conducting the adequate level of faecal egg counts (FEC) of which 47% had never conduced a FEC. It should be noted that experts say that FEC’s are the only way to prevent the build-up of resistance to wormers because worms are only targeted when necessary and therefore do not build a resistence.

The survey

Routine testing, not routine worming, is the advice given by experts involved in a survey conducted by Countrywide, a leading equestrian supplier of products and advice. This was in collaboration with Westgate Laboratories, Norbrook and BW Equine Vets. Nearly 1,000 horse owners were surveyed on their current worming practice and knowledge.

The aim of the research that will help build awareness and start to change attitudes and behaviour in the approach to effective worming strategies. The survey has brought out the disparities in current practice against best practice and how this is leading to the rise in resistance to wormers.

Routine testing, not routine worming

Parasitic worms can seriously undermine the health and wellbeing of horses. With worms becoming resistant to some worming drugs, simply dosing all horses with routine wormers is not adequate. With 80% of parasites being carried by only 20% of horses, a targeted approach, which considers each horse as an individual, is needed,” says Mark Hawkins.

Routine testing is simple and the results will help you to decide:

  1. Which horses do, and do not, require worming
  2. Which types of worms are present on your pastures
  3. Which are the appropriate worming products to use
  4. How to achieve the most cost-effective approach to worming
  5. How to reduce unnecessary treatments
  6. How to maintain the efficacy of wormers by only using them when needed

When asked about their current approach to worming practice 59% of respondents do so out of routine, interval dosing at set times of the year with only 31% conducting regular FEC tests. 59% of respondents do so out of routine.  These results show that the majority of horse owners are not updating their worming practice to match the increase in resistance and improvement in testing technology. Previous worming practices have led to the resistance problems we now have so it is vital that there is change.

For more information on Country wide farmers’website here