Why should I wormcount?

For years, educated horse owners have reaped the benefits of Faecal Egg Counting

(FEC).  The British Veterinary Association has published research evidence to show that even in the 21st Century, most horses are still being wormed unnecessarily which (apart from the obvious additional financial cost to owners) is causing concern as resistance to certain worming products is already widespread.  The BVA estimates that just 20% of horses are carrying 80% of the worm burden.  This means that an astonishing 80% of horses are being wormed when they don't need to be! 

The BVA have called for "urgent and essential action" to halt this trend. The way forward, they recommend, is to  carry out regular FECs and worm only when absolutely necessary, and then only with appropriate anthelmintics.  This is known as targeted parasite control - targeting only those horses that have medium to high counts.

So when is it necessary to worm? There are certain factors which will require a chemical  worming.  Firstly you have probably heard of the "magic" 250 EPG.  But what does that really mean and what should you do about it?  Worm counts are taken using measured samples of poo, any eggs are counted and a calculation is carried out to give a result of eggs per gram (EPG).  Results will differ depending upon the amount of material tested and the floatation solution used. Research shows that any horses showing a burden of 250 EPG or higher should be wormed.  There may be many reasons why your horse has a high burden but the main thing is DON'T PANIC!  You have come to Abacus Equine Laboratory - the right place to help you.

Secondly, worm counts cannot show encysted redworm larvae, nor can they reliably show tapeworm eggs therefore it is considered sensible to worm for these plus bot larvae in early winter using a dual wormer.  If you are concerned about tapeworms, an ELISA antibody test, performed by your Vet, is a good way to confirm either way.

The BVA guidance on Faecal Egg Counting is available for you to download:


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