A good de-worming strategy is an important part of your horse's general healthcare plan. A high worm burden may predispose your horse to ill health, weight loss, poor condition, diarrhoea and most seriously, colic. The traditional approach of treating horses for worms at set intervals every three months is promoting 'resistance' amongst the worm population. There are no new classes of wormer currently under development, so it is important that we update our thinking when it comes to best practice for worm control. Strategic worming uses worm egg counts to assess whether your horse actually needs worming.
Why is strategic worming and performing worm egg counts beneficial to your horses' worm control programme?
- Studies have shown 4 out of every 5 wormers are given unnecessarily.
- Strategic worming will save you money.
- A low level of worms can actually be beneficial to the immune system.
- 80% of worm burden sits in 20% of horses, on average for every 5 horses grazing only 1 will require treatment. These are often young (>4 years old) or old horses.
- Over use of wormers actually reduces their effectiveness.
- Worm damage can cause poor performance, weight loss, diarrhoea and colic.
How does it work?
- Complete a registration form and you will be provided with an annual worming pack with everything you need for 4 worm egg counts spaced evenly throughout the year ( February, May, August and November).
- An email reminder will be sent at the start of each testing month and samples should be submitted by the last day of the month. (Any samples submitted outside this testing window will be charged a fee of £12 per horse).
- Collect poo sample in glove provided ( be sure to take a large pinch of faeces from 3 different areas in a pile of fresh faeces), invert glove and seal in bag 1, making sure to expel any air. Collect an amount the size of a golf ball.
- Complete details on sticker on bag 2 and place bag 1 inside.
- Place the double bagged sample in freepost envelope provided and return to OVH immediately. Store the envelope in a fridge of cool place prior to posting.
- Our laboratory expert, Zoe Smith, will email you with the results within 72 hours of receiving the sample.
- If the result shows your horse requires treatment Zoe will advise you of a suitable wormer to use based on responsible rotation of the active ingredient in the wormer. This can be dispatched to you by first class post.
- Approximately 2 weeks after treatment with the wormer we will send a re-test kit which should be completed as above and returned to us. This will enable us to check that the wormer has been effective.
Please note - This package is appropriate for adult horses only. All horses under the age of 4 need worming regularly (even with low WEC) as younger animals are more prone to infection and can become sick more quickly. Please contact us for advice on worming horses under the age of 4.
The package will be charged at £50 +VAT per horse per year which will include:
- 4 WEC test kits
- 1 Re-test kit (if required)
- 1 tapeworm wormer - all horses should be wormed for tapeworm once a year as these are not covered by a worm egg count. This will be dispatched at the start of November each year.
- Advice from our lab team and vets at any time. Expert interpretation of results of WEC is crucial as a low level of worms can actually be beneficial to the health of your horse.
- Individual test kits will be available at £12 each.
Wormers required to treat high worm egg counts are not included.
In addition, we would also recommend an annual blood test to check for tapeworm which cannot be assessed from faecal samples.