A robust de-worming strategy is an important part of your horse's general healthcare plan. A high worm burden may result in ill health, weight loss, poor condition, diarrhoea and most seriously, colic.

In recent years, the resistance of equine worms to some of the active ingredients in equine wormers has become a challenge. There are no new classes of wormer currently under development, so it is important that we update our thinking when it comes to best practice for worm control. The traditional approach of treating horses for worms at set intervals every three months is further promoting resistance amongst the worm population so to make sure the active ingredients in today’s equine wormers remain effective for as long as possible, wormers should only be used as necessary.

Strategic worming uses worm egg counts to assess whether your horse actually needs worming. Here are some worming facts…

  • Studies have shown 4 out of every 5 wormers are given unnecessarily.
  • Strategic worming will save you money.
  • A low level of worms can actually be beneficial to the immune system. 80% of worm burden sits in 20% of horses, on average for every 5 horses grazing only 1 will require treatment. These are often young (>4 years old) or old horses.
  • Over-use of wormers actually reduces their effectiveness.
  • Worm damage can cause poor performance, weight loss, diarrhoea and colic

To help reduce the number of worm eggs in your horse’s environment and to ensure your worming strategy is as effective as it can be, it’s important to follow a few basic stable management routines.

  • Regularly remove faeces from the grazing pasture to reduce the number of eggs and larvae that may be ingested during grazing.
  • Do not over-stock pastures - one and a half acres per horse is a good rule of thumb.
  • Sharing pastures with sheep and cows will reduce the number of eggs in the environment.
  • Rotate and rest pasture- ideally for at least two to three months.

The OVH Strategic Worming Package

How does it work?

  • Complete a registration form and you will be provided with an annual worming pack with everything you need for 4 worm egg counts spaced evenly throughout the year (February, May, August and November).
  • An email reminder will be sent at the start of each testing month and samples should be submitted by the last day of the month. (Any samples submitted outside this testing window will be charged a fee of £12 per horse).
  • Collect poo sample in glove provided (be sure to take a large pinch of faeces from 3 different areas in a pile of fresh faeces), invert glove and seal in bag 1, making sure to expel any air. Collect an amount the size of a golf ball.
  • Complete details on sticker on bag 2 and place bag 1 inside.
  • Place the double bagged sample in free post envelope provided and return to OVH immediately. Store the envelope in a fridge of cool place prior to posting.
  • Our laboratory expert will email you with the results within 72 hours of receiving the sample.
  • If the result shows your horse requires treatment we will advise you of a suitable wormer to use based on responsible rotation of the active ingredient in the wormer. This can be dispatched to you by first class post.
  • Approximately 2 weeks after treatment with the wormer we will send a re-test kit which should be completed as above and returned to us. This will enable us to check that the wormer has been effective.

Please note - This package is appropriate for adult horses only. All horses under the age of 4 need worming regularly (even with low WEC) as younger animals are more prone to infection and can become sick more quickly. Please contact us for advice on worming horses under the age of 4.

The OVH Strategic Worming Package costs just £50 +VAT per horse per year and includes:

  • 4 WEC test kits
  • 1 Re-test kit (if required)
  • 1 tapeworm wormer - all horses should be wormed for tapeworm once a year as these are not covered by a worm egg count. This will be dispatched at the start of November each year.
  • Advice from our lab team and vets at any time. Expert interpretation of results of WEC is crucial as a low level of worms can actually be beneficial to the health of your horse.
  • Individual test kits will be available at £12 each.

Wormers required to treat high worm egg counts are not included. In addition, we would also recommend an annual blood test to check for tapeworm which cannot be assessed from faecal samples. Please call our reception team to arrange your package today on 01572 722 647