In the fight against wormer resistance faecal worm egg counts are vital tools in the armoury to prevent resistance to horse wormers. Faecal worm egg counts are invaluable as they enable horse owners to determine whether or not their animal requires treatment. This means that instead of blanket worming all horses; only those which require treatment are given wormer. This ensures that the worm population is not regularly exposed to worming chemicals. The more often worms are exposed to the chemicals used to treat worm burdens; the more likely some of the population are to survive this exposure. Those that do survive will become resistant to that particular chemical and this will be passed on to the next generation of worms as well.
Not only can they be useful in determining whether or not to worm, they can also be used to ensure that the worm treatment used is effective. By carrying out a faecal worm egg reduction count, usually 4 weeks following dosing, you can determine whether or not the treatment used has been effective. If you do not see a significant reduction in worm eggs this would indicate either; that the worm population in that animal is resistant to the wormer group chosen or that the horse has been under-dosed for their bodyweight and the worm treatment has not been effective as a result.
Carrying out a faecal worm egg count test has never been easier. Using Hyperdrug’s Worm Egg Count kit with its modern, hygienic sample collection pot means you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. This test requires only a tiny, pea sized amount of stool to sample. Simply remove the insert from the collection pot. Insert the small, cup like area at the end of the insert into the stool. If the stool is dry or fibrous then it should be moistened to enable the sample to be taken. Care should be taken to avoid contaminating the centre of the collection insert with faecal matter, as this can lead to inaccurate results and may result in the sample being rejected incurring extra costs.
Once the sample is returned to the lab for testing using the pre-paid envelope the results are sent to you by email. The result will indicate the presence of roundworm and redworm eggs which will enable an owner to decide whether or not treatment is necessary. It is important to note that faecal worm egg counts will not show tapeworm burden – a separate saliva test (Equisal) is available for this which detects antibodies produced when tapeworm are present in the gut. Faecal egg counts will also not show pinworm infection or the presence of bots in the stomach. You would either need to test for pinworm using the adhesive tape test or in the case of bot’s these would need to be treated with a wormer, generally after the first frost when the bot fly will no longer be present in the environment to re-infect the horse. There is no test that will indicate the presence of bot larvae.