Faecal Egg Counts
Effective use of faecal worm egg counts, where a sample of dung is tested, will allow you to monitor your horse’s worm burden. This test detects the presence of adult stages of roundworms. Tests are mainly performed through spring and summer and possibly early autumn.
Faecal egg counts are very useful and easy to do, what do they tell us?
- Is worming your horse or group of horses necessary?
- Less worming means less drugs used.
- Less drugs will also slow down the inevitable resistance that develops from.
- overuse of the worming products we use.
- They do not detect tapeworm and do not detect the encysted (hibernating) stage of the small redworm.
- They do not detect bots as these are not worms, but fly larvae.
As a general guide:
- Treat for roundworms through the summer and spring as required.
- Treat for tapeworms at least twice a year (autumn and again in spring).
- Treat for bot fly larvae in autumn.
- Treat for encysted small redworms (cyathostomins) in late autumn/winter, using a single dose of moxidectin or five days of fenbendazole.
CONTENTS OF A FAECAL WORM EGG COUNT KIT
- Prepaid, addressed envelope
- Blue Glove
- Clear Plastic Wallet
- Instruction Card
Available Online or In Store
Horses must not have been wormed 14 days prior to testing
- Write your HORSE’S NAME, YOUR SURNAME and the DATE on the white strip on the small re-ealable plastic wallet provided.
- Place the glove provided on your hand and pick up a golf ball size of fresh (preferably warm) dung from your horse.
- Turn the glove inside out while holding the dung sample so that it effectively lands up inside the inverted glove, tie a knot in the glove.
- Place the glove with sample in it inside the plastic wallet and seal.
- Fill in all the necessary detail inside this leaflet.
- Place the sample and this leaflet in the prepaid envelope provided.
- It is important to send the sample BEFORE the LAST POST of the day, to ensure we receive it while still fresh.
- ONLY POST MONDAY TO THURSDAY to avoid any delays.
- This card will be returned to you and the results will be reported and discussed over the phone, so please provide the most accessible PHONE NUMBER.
- Results will also be emailed or posted so please tick your preference.
It is important to worm only when necessary, as using less drugs will slow down the inevitable resistance that develops from overuse of the worming products.
The worm egg count test done on your horses dung sample will measure the number of worm eggs in the sample. This then gives us a good indication of how many active egg laying adult worms are in your horse’s gut.
A count above 200 epg (eggs per gram of faeces) is as an indication that worming your horse should be considered.
An egg count below 200 epg is considered sufficiently low not to warrant worming on this particular occasion. This however must be viewed in the context of the horse’s environment, what other horses live and graze on the same fields and what their egg counts are. If the egg count is below 200 epg and depending on the risks they are exposed to we recommend retesting in 4-6 weeks.
Please remember to manage horses as a herd - You may get an egg count that is closer to 1000 epg or up to 3000 epg, these particular results suggest immediate treatment.
OTHER FACTORS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER WHEN WORMING:
- Time of Year: A worm egg count is most useful during the months that worms are active and laying eggs, namely from early spring through to late autumn.
- A test will not pick always pick-up tapeworm, horses should be treated for tapeworm in autumn and in spring. A test will not pick-up bots as these are fly maggots and not worms.
- The encysted phase of the small redworm should always be treated for once a year in winter -speak to your Animal Health Advisor in store or online.
- Dose your horse accurately according to its weight - Do not guess your horses weight, a weighbridge is the most reliable method to determine weight, but a weigh tape used correctly will give a good guide.
- All horses on the same yard/pasture should be egg controlled/wormed at the same time with the same product to ensure none are missed, leading to pasture contamination.
- Worm all new arrivals - Keep new horses stabled for 48 hours after worming to ensure that any eggs are passed before being turned out to avoid contamination of the pasture.
- Remove droppings from your pasture regularly and poo pick at least twice a week during the grazing season. A 450kg horse produces 5-12 pats or approx 24kg of dung a day, that’s around 10 tonnes a year.
- Worm pregnant mares before and after foaling; foals have a low resistance to worms and can quickly acquire massive worm burdens. Worming of the foal should start between 4 to 6 weeks of age.
- Keep a record of when you worm and what you use.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations - Dosing intervals vary from 4, 6, 8 and 13 weeks depending on the active ingredient. Always read the box and enclosed product leaflet before use.
IF YOUR HORSE LOOKS UNWELL AND IS IN POOR CONDITION AND YOU ARE CONCERNED IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO CONSULT YOUR VET.