Parasitic worms can inflict terrible and lasting damage on the equine digestive system if a regular worming routine is not followed. However, the latest advice is to dose with anti-worm products less frequently than was previously recommended to prevent worms from building up resistance to the active chemicals within wormers.

Undertaking regular worm counts can help owners find out how effective their currently worming routine is. This allows individuals to tailor their worming programme to their horse’s specific needs and may result in a financial saving by enabling owners to dose their horses only when necessary.

Worm counts can be undertaken by your vet, but Westgate Laboratories has launched a worm count kit, available from tack and feed stores for around £9.50, to make the process even easier. The kit includes a specimen pot, vinyl glove, full instructions, voucher and a padded envelope for dispatching the sample to the laboratory for analysis, which is included within the price of the kit.

The results will then be posted, faxed, phoned or e-mailed as preferred. The report will include details of all worm eggs seen in the sample, most usually strongyles (large and small redworm) and sometimes ascarids (roundworm) and tapeworm, although this is not a definitive test for tapeworm.

Armed with this information, horse owners can make informed decisions in terms of the type of wormer used and the frequency with which it is administered, saving money and reduce the likelihood of wormer resistance.

For more information visit: www.westgatelabs.com

For details of your local stockist (tel: 01303 872277).