Reducing worming frequency

More evidence has emerged to indicate that reducing worming frequency does not typically have a negative effect on horses’ health, and may help prevent an “equine welfare crisis”.

Leading equine parasitologist Martin Nielsen’s research supports the move away from the traditional approach, of frequent worming without diagnostic testing. Dr Nielsen’s study involved 99 mares and 93 foals at stud farms in New Zealand. Researchers evaluated the worm egg counts, weight and health of groups of horses under different parasite control programmes.

They found no significant difference in egg counts between the mares wormed routinely at different set intervals, and those only wormed when counts exceeded a certain level. The foals who were wormed at two and five months old had significantly more ascarid (roundworm) and strongyle (redworm) eggs than those wormed monthly with alternate products, but all the horses were healthy.

“De-worming every six to eight weeks and rotating between products is still very common around the world but this sort of carpet-bombing is completely unnecessary and drug rotation does not prevent drug resistance,” Dr Nielsen said, adding that the persistent and growing resistance to the anti-parasitic drugs available to horse owners is “challenging us to find more sustainable and yet effective parasite control programmes”.

Source Hore and Hound

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