WORM COUNTS FOR HORSES

Announcement

Due to a house move, I won't be available via the internet for a few months. Please keep an eye on the website for updates

For any current clients who have paid for advance packs, I will still process your samples and will still be available for help and advice.

Thank you

Horse Worm Count FAQs

How do I get a Faecal Worm Egg Count done?

Post a sample of your horses’ dung to Parasite Evaluation & Testing Services, along with the information requested and I will process the sample and send you the results and advice about your horse!  For pricing, collection, safe postal instructions and results information please click here.

 

What is a Faecal Worm Egg Count?

A Faecal Worm Egg Count is a scientific method used to establish whether your horse needs to be given a worming preparation.  Faecal just means dung!  The worm eggs are counted using a microscope.

 

How is a Faecal Worm Egg Count completed?

Dung is mixed with a solution that makes the worm eggs float, the sample is cleared of large particles and a small, precisely measured amount is examined under a microscope, on a special type of slide.  The number and types of worm eggs seen are recorded and a calculation is completed which then provides an egg per gram (epg) of faeces count.

 

Why should I have a Faecal Worm Egg Count completed?

Veterinarians have for some time, been advising horse owners to reduce the amount and numbers of worming preparations we give to our horses.  There is scientific evidence that the worms living in horses are becoming resistant to the chemicals we use to purge them.  This is a serious problem and could be a very serious threat to the health of our horses.

If we reduce the amount of the harsh chemical preparations given to our horses we need to use the ‘Reduced Worming Strategy’ which simply means swapping a worming preparation for the completion of a Faecal Worm Egg Count.

 

What does a Faecal Worm Egg Count tell me about worms in my horse?

The Faecal Worm Egg Count provides information about the number of eggs being released by adult worms inside your horse, at that time.  Worms have a life cycle, which means sometimes they lay eggs and at other times they are growing into adults or ‘resting’.

 

What types of worms can be seen by a Faecal Worm Egg Count?

Two answers to this question, mainly because most people ask “What types of worms can be seen?”!  The sample on the microscope slide will contain worm eggs rather than worms.  All types of worm eggs can be detected using the faecal method except Tapeworm and the stage of Encysted Red worm.

 

How are Tapeworm and Encysted Red worm tested for?

The presence of Tapeworm is detected via a blood test called an ELISA which detects anti-bodies produced by the horse should Tapeworm be present.  There is no test to check for Encysted Red worm because these stages of the worm are teenage stages which ‘hide’ or ‘hibernate’ in the gut lining.  Adult Red worm can be detected, using the faecal worm egg count test because they produce eggs.

 

How often should I have a Faecal Worm Egg Count completed?

The general answer to this is to swap your worming preparation for a Faecal Worm Egg Count, but this depends on factors such as the age of your horse, how your pasture is managed, whether the horse has received worming preparations previously and the health of your horse.

It is important for all these factors to be taken into consideration.   Parasite Evaluation & Testing Services provides a personal answer service to this for each individual horse based on the information given to me, by you; the horse owner.

For more information visit Horses, Worms and their Environment

 

Does a ‘nil’ count mean my horse is totally free of worms?

No, just because eggs are not seen under the microscope this does not mean your horse is totally free of worms.  It does mean however that your horse is healthy and is likely to have a low worm burden at that time.  It is important to have a regular Faecal Worm Egg Count completed to ensure the worm burden stays low and to enable you to implement an intelligent worming programme.

 

The 4 “P’s”?

Poo picking your pasture is the most important and effective way you can help prevent your horse from having a recurring problem with worms.

For more information visit Poo Picking Prevents Parasites!