Get worming right to avoid drug resistance

67% of horse owners believe they are protecting their horses from the rise of resistance however 81% are not conducting the adequate level of FECs (faecal egg counts) that experts say are the only way to prevent the build-up of resistance to wormers.

The survey

Figures come from a survey conducted by Countrywide, the leading equestrian supplier of products and advice, in collaboration with Westgate Laboratories, Norbrook and BW Equine Vets,wherenearly 1,000 horse owners were surveyed on their current worming practice and knowledge.

“Countrywide’s aim was to invest in research that will help build awareness and start to change attitudes and behaviour in the approach to effective worming strategies.” Explains Sara Blackshaw, Equine Category Manager at Countrywide. “The survey has brought out the disparities in current practice against best practice and how this is leading to the rise in resistance to wormers.”

Survey Highlights

  • • 81% of horse owners are not conducting an adequate level of FECs of three or more a year despite this 67% of horse owners believe they are protecting their horses from the rise of resistance.
  • • When asked about their current approach to current worming practice the majority of people 59% do so out of routine, interval dosing at set times of the year with only 31% conducting regular FEC tests.
  • • 53% of respondents are still choosing their worming product based on active ingredient and time of year.
  • • 53% have conducted at least one FEC and of those who subsequently did not worm 69% said that they did not because the FEC was below 200epg and therefore did not need to worm at all.
  • • A huge 99% of people worm their horse at least once a year however 38% of horse owners do not know an accurate weight of their horse considering inaccurate dosing plays a large role with the increase in resistance this is concerning.
  • • Tapeworms were the most wormed for parasite with 86% of respondents treating for the worm, however only 6% of horse owners have conducted a saliva test for tapeworm and only 8% have conducted the more established elisa blood test through their vet.
  • • Vet and in store advisor role is vital – 65% seek advice from Vet and in store advisor for worming and general health care and 26% choose a product based on in store advisor or vet recommendation.
  • • Pasture maintenance – 72% regularly poo pick and 45% harrow their fields however 45% are not rotating pasture, 65% are over grazing and 51% are overstocking.
  • • 62% still rely on just a routine wormer when bringing a new horse into a yard.

Best practise worming plan Recommended by Countrywide, BW Equine Vets, Norbrook and Westgate labs.

Best practise worming plan – for effective worm control in a mature adult horse
Spring Tapeworm test and FEC for redworm and ascarids
Summer FEC for redworm and ascarids
Autumn Tapeworm test and FEC for redworm and ascarids
Winter Worm for encysted redworm (a further FEC test can be conducted in winter to monitor worm burden particularly for youngsters to assess large roundworms as they live in hay and straw)

Following a positive FEC test it is advisable to run a second test after worming to ensure that the wormer was effective, this would identify any resistance to the wormer used. It is recommended that you seek expert advice to support your worming plan, this is free in all Countrywide stores.

Visit and visit our worming pages for the full break down of results, our in depth how to worming guide and Countrywide’s FEC service or sign up for a FEC reminder service at

Author: The Editor

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