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When to Worm and What to worm?????

Thank you to Equine endo/Equi-Lab, FWEC. for the information

It is highly important that horse owners implement an effective worming programme for their horses. You should never under estimate the damage that worms can potentially do to the well being and health of horses and ponies of any age. Internal parasites can cause irreversible damage to the gut and other organs causing colic, poor body condition, suffering and even death. Nothing is text book and worming programmes should be devised for the individual horse.

When worming it is important that you use the correct worming ingredient to target specific worms. The only way of finding this out is by carrying out a faecal egg count and Elisa / saliva tests.

Foals and young horses will need worming more frequently as they have less immunity and a worm burden can have a more detrimental effect on them.

The aim of worming is to prevent the worms from completing the life cycle and re contaminating pasture.

Weighing your horse by means of a weigh bridge is also essential when worming, if you unde dose the horse, the wormer will have little effect on killing the worms, this could cause resistance and it is also a waste of your money.

Good pasture management is also needed to keep the worms at bay. Poo picking daily, not over stocking paddocks, not allowing land to become poached.

Blanket worming is a thing of the past and is not recommended as this could cause resistance to the drugs used.


A FEC (Faecal worm egg count) is the only means available to test for Endo parasites in equines. We use this to test for small and large strongyles and for Round worms. Redworms are the most prolific and damaging to the horse. FEC do have their limitations, we do not use this method of testing to detect Encysted stages of Redworm, Pin or Tapeworm, though Pinworms and Tapeworms can sometimes be seen when testing..

We will be able to test and interpret your results so you have an understanding of what level of burden your horses have and what treatment is required, if any. <200epg is an acceptable level for adult horses to cope with, anything above this threshold it would be advised to worm. Youngsters should be treated differently and tested more regular.

We cannot just use wormers to treat high worm burdens in horses. Management is key to be able to keep our horses from carrying a high level of worms.

Regular poo picking,

Rest and rotations

Not over stocking in small paddocks.

These are all ways that will have a big impact. Prevention, by good pasture management, is far more beneficial.

Benefits of testing.

Testing allows us to be able to have a targeted approach and takes the guesswork out of worming.

The most important and influential benefit is to lessen the impact of wormer resistance. Resistance is a huge concern to all equine health specialists. All wormer chemical groups now have a certain level of resistance and If we continue to blanket worm our horses there will become a point that we will not be able to manage our horse's health out on pastures, due to the risk of worm contamination and no effective treatments available.

Only 20% of horses carry 80% of the worm population within herds.

Testing is cheaper than worming with top brand wormers on a routine basis.

Moxidectin should be saved for when it is needed most.

Tapeworm can be tested with the Equisal salive test every 4-6 mths. Or treated with Praziquantel combined or double dose of Pyrantel, After the grazing season or every 6mths depending on the level of risk.

Mares and Foals

Need to be treated slightly different. Due to the foal being born with no immunity to parasites, this builds up over time. FEC can still be used for monitoring purposes and to identify worms present, though will be needed more regularly.

Speak to you vet or SQP for guidance.

Kits are available from Gee Gees Emporium


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