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Saturday, 15 October Blog

posted 15 Oct 2011, 13:13 by Abacus Equine Lab

I just wanted to tell you about a couple of worrying worming issues that arose this week. Firstly something for all you SQPs out there.  I visited one of our clients earlier this week whose yard was due for its three monthly wormcount.  The owner told me that two days previously, one of their yearlings presented her with a pile of thick, white worms in the droppings. This horse had not previously been wormcounted as it was new to the yard.  She was, naturally, horrified and went straight to her local saddlers’ to speak to the SQP and, giving  him the history and the age of the horse, was told that they were “undoubtedly pinworms and highly infectious” and that she should “worm the horse and the whole yard immediately with Strongid-P”.  She held off from doing this as she knew I was due to visit in 2 days. 

When I turned up to wormcount I must say that I had my doubts as to the advice and prescription given to her. Knowing that the horse was a yearling and knowing the difference between pinworms and Ascarids, I asked if the horse had been rubbing its tail or buttocks, as such an enormous infestation would surely have meant some considerable discomfort.  As I expected, she said “No, not at all”.  I did not pass any comment but after the wormcount when I found, not unexpectedly, many Ascarid eggs and larvae but no sign of any Oxyurids, I explained the danger of Ascarids to young horses.  I also explained that, as we are now in dual worming time of year, the best advice would have been to worm with Panacur Equine Guard as this is an excellent product for Ascarid infestation in young horses and would also have killed any pinworms (Oxyurids).  More importantly it would also be her dual wormer thus saving two lots of chemicals going into her yearling and saving her a lot of money in worming the yard unnecessarily with the Strongid-P. 

The moral of the story I believe is not to make assumptions.  The SQP assumed that the worms were pinworms even though he was told that they were thick, white, 10 to 20 cms long, in the droppings of a yearling that did not have an itchy tail!  However, knowing the season he still prescribed a single dose wormer for the whole yard of 30 horses, none of which were showing any signs of pinworm infestation, knowing also that he would then have to prescribe a dual wormer in less than a month.  I know retailers have to make a living but surely this goes completely against the BVA (and SQP) ethos of targeted worming? Surely he would have been better to advise a wormcount to identify the parasite then worm accordingly?  There was nothing wrong with using Strongid-P but there were much more appropriate products which, had the diagnosis been correct, would also have been more cost effective for the client. 

The second issue is that we have had a lot of moderate to high counts from horses recently wormed with Ivermectin.  Hopefully this will be put down to underworming rather than to a resistance to the product.  We have now developed a training program for yards using weight tapes (and calibrated the owners’ tapes against our own which has just been tested and proven to be highly accurate).  Hopefully this will prove effective as we really do not want to lose another excellent product from our arsenal against the parasite!


Abacus Equine Lab

“We count at your yard