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  1. #1

    Default Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    Has anyone here changed from traditional worming to egg count/sal test? How reliable do you find the tests and has anyone had any problems? I know they need to be wormed end of year anyway but I have a Shetland with EMS and for him the less chemicals ingested the better. Was also thinking of changing my horse over to this method but as he doesnít have any issues (apart from hating being wormed) I wasnít sure if itís a case of ďif it ainít broke donít fix itĒ for him. They are on herd grazing (normally rotated between 2 fields but havenít been able to since last summer due to having to use both fields to separate an aggressive horse away from the herd) I will also check with my vet but interested in first hand experiences of this method Thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    We poo pick the fields every day, do egg counts annually (they are always zero, except one occasion one horse was low) and at the moment worm spring & autumn for tapeworm and encysted red worm. Thinking of doing tape worm saliva tests and hopefully do away with the tape worm product. Not sure if you can test for the encysted red worm. My vet supports the approach, its cheaper and saves the trauma of worming them. I prefer not giving chemicals if its not necessary.
    I think to make this work all horses must be regularly wormed (or tested) otherwise you are likely to have to test and treat quite often. I would get an egg count done and go from there

  3. #3
    Old nag Fiona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    I agree with mandyroberts...

    We worm count, and worm once per year... All under vets guidance as he does the counts.

    However ours are kept at home and all fields poo picked.

    If horse at livery I'd do one worm count first and then take my vets advice on way forward 😁

    Fiona

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    Frankly, your current system is broken! Your horses may be fine, but you are potentially contributing to the wider problem of wormer resistance by continuing to do routine worming without knowing if the treatment is necessary. I'd definitely switch to targeted worming.

    I've done it for years, and my gelding has always had "no eggs seen", and is given Equest once a year in mid-winter.

    I have also used the EquiSal test for the past few years, but found that to be less of a clear advantage (in terms of management and cost savings). My gelding tested borderline/positive every 6 months for the past three times, so each time, I spent £17 for the test, then another £8 for the wormer. What I found less satisfying about managing the tape worm burden is that there are no clear guidelines on what I could do reduce the tapeworm burden on our pasture (we are poo picking, which is clearly working well for regular worm burden), and if he comes up consistently as needing treatment every 6 months anyway, I'd rather save the £17 for the Equisal test and treat straight away. The intermediate host (harvest mite) makes it less straight forward to figure out where the reinfection might be coming from.
    I would definitely recommend you do the Equisal test at least a few times. You might be lucky and find your horses are consistently clear, in which case I'd be happy to pay the higher cost of the test (compared to just treating) and avoid the extra chemicals. I am now slightly on the bench about whether I should continue to use the test before treating, given the record of failed tests, and no advice on how to change management for the better.

    Going back to egg counts, they worked very well for me when I took on a somewhat neglected pony mare with very high counts initially. It really helped me get her worm burden under control with the least amount of treatment possible. Interestingly, her worm burden would creep up more rapidly than for my gelding, despite exact same living conditions, and she usually needed a second dose of wormer mid-summer sometime to keep her counts down. It definitely bore out the idea that a small fraction of horses are less resistant and carry most of the worm burden in a herd, and if you can pin down which horses are likely to be carriers, you can focus your treatment on them.

  5. #5
    Probably skiving milliepops's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    Quote Originally Posted by supsup View Post
    Going back to egg counts, they worked very well for me when I took on a somewhat neglected pony mare with very high counts initially. It really helped me get her worm burden under control with the least amount of treatment possible. Interestingly, her worm burden would creep up more rapidly than for my gelding, despite exact same living conditions, and she usually needed a second dose of wormer mid-summer sometime to keep her counts down. It definitely bore out the idea that a small fraction of horses are less resistant and carry most of the worm burden in a herd, and if you can pin down which horses are likely to be carriers, you can focus your treatment on them.
    This has been my experience too. My old girl almost always brings back a "no eggs seen" result but the cob who arrived with a sky high worm burden having been neglected in this regard, is frequently above 200 epg despite being on the same regime of poo picking etc.

    Definitely recommend targeted worming OP for the reasons given above, worming on timed intervals without doing counts seems like something from the stone age now. I get counts done by my vets as part of an annual health package and by westgate in between.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    Thanks all, very helpful info, I will definitely give it a go. Just curious how often and when you test as answers seem to vary. Westgate seems to suggest 4x worm tests and 2 x tapeworm tests per year but it doesn't look like everyone does that much?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    I don't. My routine for regular worm eggs is:
    Equest in Jan
    worm egg count in April
    worm egg count in August

    Equest lasts for 3 months anyway, so no point in testing before those 3 months are up. I then test again 4 months later (~August) since my gelding has always been without eggs, so longer interval is fine. It's then another 4 months until December, and I don't see a point in doing an egg count just before I dose him again with Equest around New Year. If I started of fresh or with a different horse, I would do a test before the first worming dose to see what my starting point is, and probably also a follow-up test two weeks after treatment to make sure the chemical I picked was effective. But I don't think that's necessary every year with a horse whose history is well known and no change to management.

    For the old pony mare, I did Equest mid winter, then did egg counts in April, July, October (3 month intervals), but again didn't bother with a test before the next mid-winter Equest (after the initial phase to get her very high burden under control.)

    I consider tapeworm control completely separately, and usually do an Equisal test in April, and another one in October (6 month intervals), and treat if necessary. I've been told it really doesn't much matter when you do tapes, except to stick to 6 month intervals (as that is needed to interrupt their life cycle). I prefer doing them in spring/autumn, so that if treatment is necessary it's done at a different time than the mid-winter Equest (I'd rather not double up and do two chemicals at the same time). Other people prefer to line up the tapeworm test/treatment together with the mid-winter dose of Equest so they can use Equest Pramox and treat both at the same time.
    I can imagine that if your routine is very different between summer and winter (e.g. summer out, winter in with hay) that lining up your tapeworm testing with the change in management might make more sense (e.g. if pasture is contaminated, treat before they go on stable routine, and hopefully they'll be still good by next spring). In my case, horse is out 24/7 in the same field, so no significant change in management.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Worm egg counts/ targeted worming

    You tend to get to know your horse - the levels of immunity to worms vary between individuals - so it's best to start with more tests and you'll find you can reduce the frequency after a year or so. I test mine twice a year usually, but I do my own worm egg counts so can be very flexible!

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