As new advertisers on LiveryList, Westgate Labs would like to offer our site users their owners Guide to effective worm control on your yard. Please see below for their article and advice.
With rising costs, sometimes demanding customers – of the human and equine variety – and the British weather to deal with, the life of a yard owner can be a hectic one. It can be tricky to keep up with best practice advice and all the plates spinning at the same time! Parasite control is a sometimes confusing subject thanks to changing messages over the years but getting it right is vital – both to ensure the horses in your charge remain as happy and healthy as possible and that you use wormers sustainably to ensure you can continue to keep horses on your land for many years to come.
The more horses that live together in one place, the more important parasite control becomes. Good worm control is fundamental to the management of a larger yard, have you got it covered? Here at Westgate we want to make this aspect of your job as simple and cost effective as possible. Use our step by step process to get on the front foot of parasite control at your yard:
A targeted worm control programme
The British Equine Veterinary Association advise a regular test based programme for redworm, roundworm and tapeworm, worming horses on an individual basis only if the tests indicate. Strategic worming doses can then be added in for encysted redworm and other parasites such as bots and pinworm as appropriate and to treat young or rescue horses more proactively.
Worming programmes that rely on regular doses of wormer chemicals encourage resistance to build up to the drugs. Without regular monitoring using worm counts and the EquiSal saliva test, horses could still be at risk from potential problems.
Because it’s the worms which become resistant to the drugs rather than the horses, once you have resistant strains of worms on your land they are unfortunately there for ever. The process won’t be reversed by stopping using a particular product for a while. With such a limited number of horse wormers available this makes it very important to conserve the efficacy of the drugs we have.
Conversely unchecked parasite challenges, either from testing or treating too infrequently or using the wrong drug could put horses at risk from serious illness and even death.
The testing and treatment programme should be managed hand in hand with field changes and pasture management to maximise its effectiveness. Streamlining control in this way reduces the risk of parasite challenge and the amount of proactive treatment you might need to give.
- Wherever possible implement techniques that break the lifecycle of the worms such as poo picking paddocks, harrowing when done on dry bright days, and cross grazing with other animals.
- Rest and rotate grazing for three months or more if you can and try to ensure fields are not over grazed.
- Keep horses in stable herds where possible to help identify and manage heavy egg shedders.
- Don’t turn out on to fresh pasture immediately after worming; treated horses should go back onto the original pasture, diluting the population of resistant worms with those still susceptible to the drug. This may go against all you have been taught in the past and feel wrong, but it will help to slow down worm resistance on your fields.
- Locate muckheaps at least three metres from adjacent grazing land to prevent motile larvae travelling to re-infect grazing.
What about new horses coming on to the yard?
Insist that new horses with an unknown history are stabled/kept separately in a poo picked paddock and worm counted before being allowed on to the main fields with other horses. This can be stressful for horse owners but will help to protect your land and horses from any unnecessary infection. We test all samples on the day we receive them and return results back the same day to minimise.
Easy and cost effective
Not only is a targeted worm control programme better for your horses, your land and the environment but it is usually more cost effective too. Yards of 10 or more horses can access the commercial rate for worm egg counts – just £7.20 (inc VAT) per count. You will receive a collection kit containing everything you need to take and send the samples to make life as simple as possible.
Samples are tested on the day they arrive at the lab with results returned the same day by email, text, phone or post. Veterinary approved advice from Westgate’s friendly, experienced team is available by phone or email to back you up.