Vets and researchers have joined forces on a project aimed at combating the “serious and imminent threat to the equine industry” posed by wormer resistance.
H&H has reported on the need for the industry to work together to deal with the issue, and to help safeguard the drugs we have for future use.
Now, collaborative project WORMS — working to overcome resistance and make for a sustainable future — has been launched as a weapon in the battle.
A spokesman for the project said: “Project WORMS recognises that veterinary teams and owners need to work together to tackle resistance to worming products.
“A responsible approach to the use of wormers is crucial to maximise animal welfare and ensure we have effective products available in the future.”
The first stage of the project, which is supported by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), was initiated as a collaboration between Tim Mair of CVS Group and Julia Shrubb and Camilla Scott of the VetPartners equine clinical board.
The first step involves asking horse owners and keepers, and stud and yard owners and managers, to complete an online survey on their worm-control programmes.
Mr Mair said: “Resistance to worming drugs, anthelmintic resistance, is a rapidly growing, worldwide problem. With no new worming drugs on the horizon, it is essential that we do everything we can to protect the drugs that we currently have available, which means using wormers strategically and only when necessary.
“To safeguard the drugs, we need to know how and when horse owners currently decide to worm their horses. This is the objective of these surveys.”
BEVA president elect David Rendle added that BEVA is pleased to support this “important piece of work”, which will inform decision-making on the stewardship of the drugs.
“Anthelmintic resistance presents a serious and imminent threat to the equine industry,” he said.
Ms Shrubb, of Ashbrook Equine Hospital, said most owners want to do right by their horses.
“But many are unaware of the seriousness of the impending resistance problems of current wormers,” she said. “Understanding how and when horse owners currently choose to give wormers will help us improve worming practices in the future, with the aim to preserving their effectiveness for as a long as possible and ultimately help the health and welfare of our entire equine population.”
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