We’ve teamed up with brand partners Westgate Labs to bring you some all-important worming advice for the autumn and winter months
🍂🍁 Autumn Parasite Control
✅ Worm egg count for redworm and roundworm
✅ EquiSal test for tapeworm
✅ Keep an eye out for bots and pinworm activity
❄️ Winter Parasite Control
✅ Decide on your approach to encysted redworm
✅ Reduction test if required
✅ Have you tested for tapeworm in the last 6 months?
✅ Are you in an area where you need to consider bots?
After a warm wet summer that has created perfect conditions for parasites, we’re seeing a lot of positive worm egg counts in the lab this autumn. This includes a number with redworm into the high thousands, as well as a surprising number of ascarid eggs in older horses and tapeworm eggs present under the microscope.
It’s imperative that we’re on top of parasite control measures to ensure that a burden can be dealt with before it gets out of hand. But it’s really important that we time our testing and treatment right to target the right parasites at the right time for our horse’s health.
Autumn – Time to Test
Rather than reaching straight for a wormer, we need to test first. Many horses won’t need any treatment at all in the autumn. For those that do, knowing exactly which parasites are present helps us to choose the correct wormer for the job and make intelligent choices.
All horses need a worm egg count this autumn and if they haven’t had a test or treatment to cover tapeworm in the previous six months, an EquiSal tapeworm test will be due too. You will also want to keep an eye out for any tail rubbing that could indicate pinworm activity and bot eggs on the coat to help inform your winter worming plan.
Winter – Test or Treat for Encysted Redworm
What you do in the autumn paves the way for your winter worming plan and addressing possible encysted redworm. Once a year, in the late autumn/winter we need to consider this dangerous larval stage of the small redworm parasite. These larvae inhibit in cysts in the horse’s gut wall and don’t lay eggs so can’t be detected in a worm egg count. Many thousands can over winter in the horse to survive the winter. They’re so dangerous because they can be triggered to mass emerge, usually in the spring time, which can set off a severe colic, known as larval cyathostominosis, that is very hard to treat and often fatal.
Until recently, advice was to give every horse a proactive treatment for the possibility of encysted redworm at this time of year. That was until a groundbreaking ELISA blood test launched in September 2019 that can detect immature as well as adult small redworm in the horse.
Now we need to choose which horses to test first before treatment – every horse that doesn’t ned a treatment, particularly of moxidectin, is helping to delay resistance and preserve this important chemical.
Horses classed at lower risk of parasite infection – that is, a history of worm egg counts of <200 eggs per gram over the previous grazing season, are recommended for testing. Chat to your vet for further information about booking in a blood test with them.
Youngsters under four years old (who are more prone to parasites), adult horses who have had high or medium worm egg counts for redworm, or those who need a treatment for bots are all recommended a proactive treatment.
Just because you give a wormer it doesn’t mean it’s done the job we intended it to do. Resistance problems are rising across the five chemicals we have licenced to treat parasites in horses. Whichever drug you choose the winter dose (fenbendazole and moxidectin are the two licenced for treatment of larval small redworm) now is an ideal time to add in a reduction test to your programme. If your winter worm egg count is positive treat with the appropriate product and do a followup worm count 10-14 days after worming to ensure efficacy of the drug.
How Westgate Labs can help?
If you need help with a test result or in planning a parasite control programme for your horses or yard then free, friendly, vet approved advice is always available from our experts here at Westgate. We also offer cost effective season packs, subscriptions and commercial rates of 10+ horses to help give you peace of mind that this important aspect of horse health is covered. As a KBIS Policyholder, you can access 10% off our range of products so call us on 01670 791994 or head to our website to find out more.
KBIS are one of the largest independent horse insurance providers, offering all types of insurance for the equestrian. Make sure you are ready to hit the road again with our horsebox, trailer and breakdown insurance. KBIS also offer personal accident cover, insurance for equestrian businesses, such as yards, instructors, competition centres, and horse insurance including a wide variety of veterinary fee options. To discuss your insurance needs call us today on 0345 230 2323.