Saturday, 10 November 2012

posted 11 Nov 2012, 09:01 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

Just when we thought things would be slowing down a bit – they haven’t!  In fact, October was the busiest month on record for us.  I suppose, having the postal service to work with as well as the usual mobile labs work has made things a bit hectic but really exciting too.

We are seeing so many different animals to worm count too.  Not just in the post but on site as well.  In fact it has been extremely seasonal round here over the past week or so as we have had to visit some reindeer, some sheep and – yes, you guessed, some donkeys! I will put some pictures on facebook for you to enjoy at www.facebook.com/wormcountI don’t seem to be able to post pictures here on the blog for some reason.  I will have to speak to the Techie guys to find out why – or if you have any ideas perhaps you could email me at poo.ladies@wormcount.co.uk!

Speaking of seasonal, just a quick message here to let you know that we will be open for business as usual over the Christmas period.  We have Christmas day and New Year’s day off but will be counting away on every other day so don’t worry if you need your dog testing or your tortoise – Abacus Equine Laboratory and Wormcount Dotcom are here for you.

I don’t know if you have noticed but we have had a bumper year for pinworms this year but more recently there have been a lot of ascarids showing up in horses that really shouldn’t have them i.e. middle aged horses.  Of course, we are able to tell this because we take a detailed history of every animal we test including age, sex and worming history.  We don’t just look at a piece of poo and give you an egg score like most other labs out there, we analyse the sample and give you a breakdown of everything we find and what you should do about it.  A lovely client of ours came up with an interesting analogy the other day.  She said the difference between Abacus Equine Lab and most others is the same as the difference between a riding instructor and a riding teacher!  The instructor tells you what’s wrong but the teacher tells you what to do about it!!

Abacus (and Wormcount Dotcom) not only tell you what is in the poo but also what it means to you and your horse (or any other animal for that matter) and what you need to do about it.  Informed information taken from the detailed history is much better value than a straight forward worm count don’t you think?

Anyway, I digress, back to the pinworms and ascarids! We are working with the Royal Veterinary College on this one and should have some very interesting information for you in the early New Year so watch this space.

Well, that’s all for this week.  Until next time – oh and don’t forget to look at the photos on facebook!

Bye for now

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

Saturday, 13 October 2012

posted 13 Oct 2012, 03:53 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

I can’t believe it has been so long since I last wrote a blog!!!  I have just re-read my last outpouring and things have not got appreciably better, in fact they seem to have got much worse!

I have since lost 6 bags of wood pellet bedding from the yard and have found out that the tack shop that prescribed the wrong wormer to my client did it again to another – strange that the wormer only has 4 months left to its sell by date! Naughty naughty! Moral of the story – check the sell by date on your wormer before you accept it and if you want to split it to use half the next time you worm – make sure you can!!!

Anyway.  Enough of the ranting I have some really exciting news for you.  We have been engaged in some really heavy duty talks with lots of people over the past few weeks and have now come out the other end with a new company!

We have been sharing our lab space with a small postal wormcount company since April and now, due to some totally unforeseen circumstances, they felt that they could no longer run their operation to the ‘full extent of its potential’! We have been asked for many months if we would consider expanding our business to take in worm counts for dogs, cats and other pets and we have so far resisted on the grounds that we just did not have the time or the personnel to cover the extra work.  Well, now we have taken over the Wormcount Dotcom business complete with most of their staff.  We will run the two companies separately and will still be able to offer our on-site worm counting service as usual.  The only difference is now we can reach a much wider audience.  We will also be offering lungworm tests for dogs.  I will be looking after the blogs for both sites and the facebook and twitter accounts – sadly been absent for a few weeks due to simple pressures of work but should now be back to ‘normal’!!

Pop onto the www.wormcount.com site if you have a minute and see what it is all about. Abacus clients please don’t worry – you will still have your own analysts or ‘poo lady’ that you know and trust visiting your yard – nothing has changed for your service.  It is a very exciting time for Abacus Equine Lab and Wormcount Dotcom.  Watch this space for more info.

Bye for now

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

Saturday 26 Aug 2012 blog

posted 26 Aug 2012, 02:14 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

Why is it that people are determined to break the law? Whether it is blatant and overconfident or insidious and sneaky, we are all falling foul of this growing menace! They can’t even really blame the economic downturn, because the rule-breakers that have annoyed me to the point of ranting to you this week are just plain “The law doesn’t apply to me” arrogant!

The week started with a near miss at a local roundabout with a lady pulling out in front of me when I had right of way.  I stopped (or I would have crashed into her!), waiting for the bump from behind which was only just averted by the nice chap in the Volvo who saw what had happened and slowed right down.  I beeped my horn and was treated to a tirade of abuse via the open side window and the inevitable raised middle finger.  Nice. Really good role model for your three kids which were in the car with you dear lady!

Things didn’t improve on Tuesday when I got to the yard to find that someone has helped themselves to 3 bales of hay from my stack. Of course nothing will be done about this sneaky person who has stolen from me because yes, it is theft, not just the “Oh well, it’s only hay” attitude that greets my moan about this to anyone who would listen for long enough!!  It might well only be hay, but it’s £6.50 a bale hay thanks to last year’s farmers who saw the chance of a quick buck at the horse owning community’s expense (does this ring true with you too?) To steal hay from another person on your yard is nasty, but hopefully they will trip up on their overconfidence and when they are found, will pay whatever price the justice system deems fit (that’s going to be worth it isn’t it!!!) – are you seeing a slight cynicism creeping in here?

The week ended with a bang. A client’s horse had a high worm count which needed wormer treatment. Being August and being on a programme which involves worm counting and target worming throughout the year, with Equest Pramox in winter for tapes, encysted red worms etc, I prescribed Strongid P, this being a broad spectrum wormer from a different chemical group to the one that she will be having in winter. Now I know that this horse is on this programme because I designed it for her! I also know that there is Ivermectin resistance in the area of the yard.  I know this because I have been treating this and other horses at the yard for many months in my capacity as prescribing SQP. The client went to her local tack shop (you know who you are!) to buy the prescribed wormer and was sold a completely inappropriate wormer for the time of year (a tape wormer with Ivermectin), for the horse, for the conditions, etc etc. I could also say that the wormer she was sold was much more expensive than the one prescribed but that may be erroneous. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate, which is the SQP governing body, clearly states that if a medicine is prescribed by one SQP and another SQP cannot fill that prescription they must contact the original prescriber to offer an alternative.  Well, I’m still waiting..... Once again, arrogant breaking of the law.

Call me old fashioned but I don’t remember ever having the cheek to act in the way that these people have acted this week. From petty theft to blatant egotistical behaviour the world is changing for the worse.  I know this may be me just having a bad week, and I truly hope next week is better and I’m proved wrong, but somehow I really don’t think so.

Bye for now

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

05 August 2012 Blog

posted 5 Aug 2012, 05:51 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

Well we’re back from Greenwich! We had the most amazing time doing our Olympic string holding job!  As we clearly came across as experienced string holders (!) we were given a very difficult crossing with three bits of track all within about 40 metres.  More importantly though, was that we only had about 8 seconds from hearing the whistle to clear the track and considering the public were taking on average 30 seconds to meander across we were encouraging some sprinting that would rival a certain Mr U Bolt!  Thankfully we had no dramas and were even able to stand within 10 metres of the Market Garden fence so we saw lots of horses too!

The day was brilliant, the crowd on the whole were friendly towards us (some people just do not want to be told that a horse galloping at over 30 miles an hour may just spoil their day if it hits them on the crossing), and the horses were fabulous.  It was such a thrill to be part of the Olympic Games and it is something I will never, ever forget.  The other half however, is still down there every day this week working on the anti-doping team.  He comes home each night exhausted but thrilled at what he has been part of during the day.

Whilst all this has been going on, of course, we have been continuing to offer a full mobile worm count service to our clients!  With a bit of clever juggling of appointments we have been able to keep at least one, often both labs on the road and all results have been emailed (the test is reported and discussed at the yard and an email is sent for the client’s records later that day), sometimes a little later than usual, but always on the same day as testing so really, no one would know anything has been different!  Only us who have been down at Greenwich that is and boy have we seen something different!

Next week all is back to normal and we are getting into the lecture season.  We have lots of talks booked for September and October so hopefully worm counting will be introduced to lots of new horse owners soon!

Well, I’m off to watch the second round of the team show jumping on the laptop so let’s hope we can add another medal to our brilliant Event Team’s lovely silver.

Bye for now

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

29 July 2012, Blog

posted 29 Jul 2012, 06:35 by Abacus Equine Lab   [ updated 29 Jul 2012, 06:36 ]

Hi All

Oh my goodness! We have been to Greenwich Park twice now for training for the Olympic Eventing cross country day! I am writing this whilst watching poor Tina Cook swimming her way through the dressage.  Poor old Miners Frolic looks less than impressed but what a wonderful test he produced for her!  Thank you Henry (stable name!!) 

As I said, we have been to two training days, have walked the course twice (it’s huge!) and have been given our crossing point to patrol.  We are at a really tricky point with three tracks crossing at the same place and horses coming at it every minute and a half or so! Apparently there will be 50,000 visitors in the park but hopefully they won’t all come to our fence at once! As if that isn’t enough pressure, there are three TV cameras pointing at us.  I am not going to tell you which fence is our until next week just in case we muck up!!! Mind you, if we do, we won’t be here next week to tell you! The other half is well into his anti-doping role too and is enjoying himself immensely. 

The team horses look magnificent and the riders look relaxed.  The stables are a dream, grooms are happy and the course is a picture.  Come on Team GB. 

In the middle of all this training and working we are still keeping the worm counts under control.  Pin worms seem to be dwindling a bit thank heavens but we are getting some unexpectedly high strongyle counts and even some tape segments showing up.  Global warming or something else? This morning I tested a horse that had been wormed with Ivermectin three months ago.  It had a count of 700 epg, had two tapeworm segments and a Dipylidium Caninum (dog tapeworm) in its sample!!! Truly weird. The point is just because your horse is wormed it doesn’t mean it is worm free and tapeworms are showing up early this year.  If you are in doubt have your horse worm counted.  If you are in Northampton, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, south Leicestershire or west Lincolnshire, Abacus will come out, worm count at your yard, give you the results immediately and talk through the implications and parasite control plan for your horse all for £7.50 – what price peace of mind?

21 July 2012 Blog

posted 21 Jul 2012, 06:46 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

I decided that it was time to emerge from all the mountains of poo we have been testing to tell you all about the Olympics and what we have been doing with them!  You may remember that other half, daughter and I applied to be Gamesmakers two years ago.  We were all successful and got great jobs working at Greenwich right in the middle of all the equine events!  Other half is working with the anti-doping team and we are stewarding on cross country day – does it get any better?  Oh yes.  This week we went down for some training and were taken on a tour of the cross country course!!!  Obviously we have been sworn to secrecy about the course but I can say that it is totally awesome!  Watch it on the Monday.  You will be blown away.  We don’t know where exactly on the course we will be, but we will be in our very distinctive uniforms complete with whistle and radio simply soaking up the atmosphere and being part of it all! 

Back to poo and worms though.  Have you noticed an increase in pin worms this year?  Has your horse been rubbing his tail more than usual or have you tried to get rid of them but they simply keep coming back?  Then you are not alone.  This year has been the worst year anyone can remember for pin worms.  Our local Vets are tearing their hair out trying to get rid of them to no avail.  Strongid P seems to be the best hope plus twice daily washes with aloe vera wipes. 

We have been collating results and working with the veterinary profession to try to help all the poor, half maddened horses and ponies in Northampton who are suffering from this terrible pest.  Watch this space for more information. 

Well, next time I write we will be back from the dress rehearsal for the Olympic cross country event and will be revving up for the real thing.  Wish us luck! 

Bye for now

 

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

23 June 2012 Blog

posted 23 Jun 2012, 08:28 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All 

Well, what a week!  It’s been so mad that I hardly know where to begin.  Even though we have done the equivalent of 3 weeks work on the worm count front in 6 days, I have even had time to fit in a trip to London – more of that little jaunt later! 

The best news though is that my clever daughter got her degree results and she got a 2:1!  She is now a BSc (Hons) and this Mum is prouder than a cat with 15 tails never mind 2!  It just goes to show that hard work really does pay off – although she may be thinking otherwise as she has not yet totally recovered from all the hard work! 

The London outing was to go to the LOCOG accreditation and uniform fitting day – or in plain English, to get our Olympics uniform and security passes!  Husband, daughter and I are Gamesmaker Volunteers for the equestrian events, husband on the anti-doping team and daughter and I are working at the 3 day event as stewards.  I must say that the organisation on the day was amazing.  We were in and out in under 40 minutes having passed through what can only be described as a military precision conveyor belt operation.  We ended up with our uniforms in a smart black bag complete with umbrella, water bottle and post cards! They really have thought of everything.  We now have to go down to some training days at Greenwich and we really can’t wait to get amongst it!  I will, of course, keep you up to date on all that goes on. 

In the real world of worm counts though we have simply never stopped.  I gave a talk last Monday evening to the Northamptonshire Horse Watch Group on worm counting and parasite control.  It was a really enjoyable evening and this new group deserve all the support they can get as they are trying to revitalise a once busy area that somehow fell apart. These people are all volunteers so if you see their stand at a show go up to them and get involved – it’s you they are protecting. 

On the worm front we are seeing some ridiculously high counts at the moment.  I wish someone would do some research into the effect of this strange weather on parasites. I know it is the Jet Stream that is causing the mad conditions but people are assuring me that they are poo picking as well as usual and I do believe them as I see their clean fields when I go to their yards!  Pin worms are still a huge problem in Northampton with little as yet to shift them.  Keep using the aloe vera wipes until something better comes along! 

Well  I’m just off to the station to collect said daughter from her holiday in Portugal (no she went by plane, this is the end of the journey from Manchester Airport – 3 hours on a coach and 1 on a train!) so I will sign off now and tell you more about the worms next time. 

Bye for now 

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

13 June blog

posted 13 Jun 2012, 09:12 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

So sorry that this is late this week but we have just been madly busy and I have only just been able to sit down and write last Saturday’s blog – on Wednesday! 

In fairness, it was my birthday last Sunday (same as the Duke of Edinburgh) and I did take some time off to have Sunday lunch with my family, but had to work in the morning and then write up the results in the evening!  Slave drivers this Abacus lot! 

I am such a lucky girl though as my lovely daughter commissioned a painting of my beautiful horse, Eric, who you may remember sadly died last December following a tragic accident in his field.  I will post a picture of the painting on facebook when I can figure out how! But it has totally captured his slightly quirky expression.  When I saw it I burst into tears! “Please tell me they are happy tears!” said the distraught daughter – but oh yes, they were.  I now have him hanging on the wall over my desk and we have little chats from time to time. 

Then there was the birthday cake! Said daughter produced a pink worm complete with edible bling and pyrotechnic candles which the restaurant staff carried in ceremoniously, singing ‘happy birthday’ and wondering if we were all totally mad.  I will add a picture of this on facebook too!  Considering she could not even boil an egg when she went to University 3 years ago it is pretty impressive.  Speaking of University, I am writing this blog whilst waiting with baited breath for phone call from same daughter who is, as I write, going to get her degree finals results!  Calm aren’t I?  It is all a lie as I am in total melt down to the point where I was not allowed to go out this afternoon to test any poo!  I will let you know next week how she got on. 

Well, as I’m only fit for office work today I had better go and do some!  There are all this morning’s results to send out and I have a talk to write for next week so I’d better get on with it. 

Until next Saturday.

Bye for now

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

06 June Blog - Jubilee Weekend

posted 6 Jun 2012, 11:05 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

Well I hope that by the time you read this you will all have had a wonderful, if rather soggy, Jubilee holiday.  I am writing this on Monday evening before going out to join the rest of the family at the village celebrations.  We have a fete with cake competitions, a picnic in the park and bouncy castles and a beacon to light at 10pm! Very British and luckily now, quite dry! Hopefully I will be able to remain awake until 10 pm as I have been out fence judging at a 3 Day Event since 8 am this morning which was great fun and, thankfully, uneventful (pardon the intentional pun!) 

Yesterday I was judging in-hand classes all day in the pouring rain.  I felt so terribly sorry for all the competitors and the beautiful horses and ponies who were beautifully turned out despite the foul conditions.  Well done to them for turning up! 

It is amazing how many people recognize us when we arrive at shows these days. They always ask if we are worm counting at the show and look forward to seeing the trailer or pagoda.  They will come over for a chat, book their testing days or quite often, bring us a bag of poo to test.  We are unfortunately so busy that we have had to limit our show attendances this year but we usually end up bringing several little bags of horse poo back with us to test!  The Lab light is often on until well into the night! 

Well, with a full week waiting for us next week and an early morning getting up at 5.30 to see the Transit of Venus across the sun on Wednesday, I’d better go and get some much needed sleep! See you next week. 

Bye for now 

The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

27th May Blog

posted 27 May 2012, 10:18 by Abacus Equine Lab

Hi All

Goodness it’s hot! Both worm count Labs are out on the road seven days a week and it is a real balancing act sometimes trying to tie in all the yards that want us on the same day! We owe a huge ‘thank you’ to Lynn in our office who manages to work all the routes out to keep the travelling and the petrol consumption to a minimum!  It often means working late (and by late I mean until 9pm!) but we have such a fantastic team of technicians and analysts that I have yet to hear a complaint from them!  It does mean that we have to spend a certain amount of time on staff outings, like the one the other week to the Beer Festival (with Young Farmers’ vs Rugby Club tug of war competition...) but then, I suppose the team are worth it!!!! 

I never thought when I signed up for this worm count lark that I would be this busy for this long but guess what, it is fantastic and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

On a scientific note (she says dragging herself away from the image of the tug of war competition) thank heavens that the pin worm epidemic seems to be abating for a while.  We have only had the occasional positive practical test in the past two weeks whereas before that we were having three or four per day.  Perhaps they don’t like temperatures hot enough to cook your dinner in!  Whatever it is, long may it continue.  They are the complete pest causing not only horrendous irritation to the tail and buttock area but also, potentially, blockages too.  Nasty little devils and really difficult to get rid of.  Worming just doesn’t seem to be having the effect that it should.  Even when you get rid of the dose that your horse has internally they can spring up again by lying in wait on any surface that the horse may itch his tail area on.  The only way to really get rid of them is to completely paint the wood or metal surfaces or, at least, scrub them down with strong disinfectant or wood preservative.  A complete pain but then, having seen some poor horses with red raw patches or, worse still, internal damage through impaling themselves on gate posts in an effort to get rid of the itch, it is a small price to pay. 

Better to have the horse worm counted and even have a practical pinworm test done as it may not be pin worm, but some other itch related problem like sweet itch.  The eggs do show up in the faecal test if they are laid at the right time or if there are enough of them.  We have had some really high pinworm counts so don’t believe people who say they don’t show up in worm counts – they do!  You can then decide if worming will help or if you want to go down the washing with aloe vera route – a good way to relieve the itch and get rid of the eggs which are sticking to the horse (it is the gel that the eggs are laid into which causes the irritation not the eggs themselves). 

Anyway, on that note I am off to check my pony for anything remotely itchy in his nether regions.  It is his 21st birthday party tomorrow – all his friends are invited and there will be a big ‘happy 21st birthday’ banner and carrot cake all round – I may even post pictures on facebook – if I can work out how! 

Bye for now

 The Ab-Lab Team

We Count at Your Yard

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