‘Top tips’ for worming horses

01 March 2013, at 12:00am

“ONE size doesn’t fit all when it comes to planning a worming strategy,” according to Wendy Talbot, veterinary adviser at Pfizer Animal Health.

“All horses respond differently to the same circumstances so it’s imperative to assess every horse independently as well as of a part of the group in which it is kept, when planning worming tactics,” she says.

The company has issued “six top tips” for worming: 

  • Treat every horse as an individual within the herd and assess their age, health status and past history carefully.
  • Use faecal worm egg counts (FWEC) properly – a single FWEC is only a rough indication of a horse’s worm burden at a specific point in time and results may vary between consecutive tests.
  • Dose accurately, according to the horse’s weight, and always select the wormer most appropriate for the parasite being targeted.
  • Keep pasture clean to reduce overall worm burdens and the need for excessive use of wormers. n Take advantage of the persistent effect of some wormers.
  • Remember to strategically dose for tapeworm in the spring and autumn and for encysted small redworm and bots during the winter (and do not rely on FWECs for these parasites).

For more details see

Worm egg count masterclass

MERIAL, in association with Professor Jacqui Matthews and Dr Dave Bartley (pictured) is to hold a worm egg count masterclass at the Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, on 14th March.

The event will include seminars on equine parasites and drug resistance, problem solving tutorials and a hands- on learning and practising techniques in the state-of-the-art lab.

The masterclass, says the firm, is designed to equip veterinary nurses and SQPs with the expertise they need to undertake WECs at their practices.

Big increase in liver fluke cases

THERE was a 10-fold increase in acute liver fluke cases in sheep in the last quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, according to AHVLA figures reported in the latest

NADIS (National Animal Disease Information Service) Parasite Forecast. It says that the very wet conditions last summer will have resulted in heavy pasture contamination, with significant risk to stock. 

Even though the prolonged cold winter should have helped to reduce risk to livestock posed by contaminated pastures, the forecast, sponsored by Merial, warns: “Many cattle will have been exposed to high levels of liver fluke challenge when at grass. Chronic fluke disease leading to weight loss, poor growth and poor production can be found at any time of year, but there is a peak of cases over the winter.

“Faecal egg identification, blood tests and bulk milk tests in dairy cows can be used to monitor herds for levels of infection but it’s worth looking out for signs of disease and anaemia, bottle jaw, poor fertility and poor milk yield or metabolic disease in dairy cows.”