What's your worming regime?

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by Nicki, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. wormwatch

    wormwatch Active Member

    I'd say Vetpath for the dog samples, especially if you are sending other samples and have courier set up for keeping samples cool in transit. To keep it simple, I'd send horse sample(s) there too, but if for some odd reason you have no joy getting horse samples done by Vetpath, you are most welcome to post a sample to me. Google will give you contact details.
  2. Wendy

    Wendy Well-known Member

    It has been reported that humans have deliberately infected themselves with tapeworm in their efforts to stay thin. :))
  3. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    I worm every 8 - 10 wks, but am wondering if i should actually do a worm egg count (i have 16 horses - what are the costs?).....?
    My horses look great though & i check for worms the day after worming etc.

    My issue is several of my girls share a fence line with a skanky STB mare.
    She's not as skinny as she once was & the first 6 or so mths she was there, i was sneaking over & worming her as her owner has no frigging clue!
    But i've stopped, it's not my responsibility.
    I just worry as although she's not exactly friendly, she's teamed up with my filly over the fence.

    Worm Watch, what would i be looking at to "check" every horse i own, 16 of them ranging from foals to a 17yo?

    (gosh, that's alot poo :p, i'd have to bring all of the samples in instead of posting LOL, or could do "each paddock at a time" instead of all 16 in 1 hit?)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2011
  4. Nikiwink

    Nikiwink Well-known Member

  5. Raw Prawn

    Raw Prawn Well-known Member

    Cool thanks :)* Does help getting stuff at cost price :))
  6. Ren

    Ren Well-known Member

    How often do you worm? every 6 weeks
    What brand do you use? Equimax
    What brand do you rotate with? strategy T
    How often do you rotate? yearly
    Do you test manure for worm burden? no
    Do you use 'alternative' methods of parasite control as a substitute or to compliment your wormer, and if so what do you use? No
    Do you drench? How often?
  7. wormwatch

    wormwatch Active Member

    My fees are really similar to Ag Department. Note that the Ag Department charge a "case fee", then worm egg count fee for each horse. I do something similar with the first horse being more expensive, then subsequent horses being cheaper. My fee includes a report with the results and interpretation/suggestions - many other labs just send results (which is fine if that's all you need). My egg count fee is slightly higher than Ag Department, but that's because I do at least 2 tests per horse to try and increase accuracy of the result. That said, the folk at the Ag Department lab are terrific and will do a good job :) I sent my own precious pony's samples there before setting up my own lab.

    Remaani - Rather than advertise in the forum, feel free to drop me an e-mail. I have a website which you can find with Google. Otherwise there should be an ad in classifieds somewhere.

    If you want to test a few horses, you can post down 1-2 manure balls from each horse, or maybe just drop off the samples if/when you are coming to Perth. If you e-mail me, let me know the approximate ages the horses, who shares paddocks with who, when they were last treated and with what so I can give you some suggestions about which horses to test and when to test to get the best "bang for your buck" from the testing. I'm happy to do that for you even if you decide to send poo to another lab. If you do decide to send your results to another lab and need help interpreting the results (ie what results you would expect given the time since last treatment), let me know and I might be able to help. Your local vet might be able to do tests for you, so maybe ask them first?
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  8. Raw Prawn

    Raw Prawn Well-known Member

    Not having a go here, but what is the legality surrounding parasitologists giving an interpretation of results?

    With other laboratory testing (eg at Vetpath), the Pathologist can process and report results, however only the Veterinary Pathologist (ie qualified vet with specialist qualifications in pathology) is allowed to make any interpretation.

    Same goes with xrays etc (ie radiographer takes xrays, veterinary radiologist reports and interprets).
  9. Hen

    Hen Well-known Member

    OK, genuine question - if you determine worm egg count from single balls of manure, how can you make an accurate determination of infestation that way? I mean what if the worm eggs are hanging out in another few balls of manure that didn't get examined? Or in another pile of manure entirely, depending on frequency etc?
  10. Raw Prawn

    Raw Prawn Well-known Member

    Doesnt work that way Hen.

    Worm eggs are so small and because of the way digestion occurs, one ball of manure in representative of all manure at that point in time.

    Worm egg counts arent some new scientific discovery, they have been used in all species for many decades. Horse owners for some reason are a bit behind the 8 ball as far as livestock management goes.
  11. wormwatch

    wormwatch Active Member

    Lots of veterinary parasitologists are vets.

    The interpretation of the results will give a description of the result and "general recommendations" for pasture management etc, but not a diagnosis as such. Diagnosis of worm disease needs to be done by a vet that takes into account history, clinical exam, worm egg results, other lab test results and so on. That involves looking at the animal. The reports are very clear as to the limitations of the interpretation and recommend consultation/discussion of results with a vet before making treatment decisions etc.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  12. wormwatch

    wormwatch Active Member

    It is a good question. The egg count gives an estimate of the concentration of eggs in that sample.

    Nerd alert for the post that will follow:

    Based on lots of studies that compare the number of worms in the horse with egg counts in different parts of the same manure pile and different piles of manure through the day, egg count results get "grouped" into categories. Counting eggs in a different manure ball or from a different manure pile will possibly give a different result in terms of the number/concentration of eggs, but as a rule the categories usually don't change a great deal if you are using a good egg counting method with high sensitivity. For example, if a horse has a worm egg count of 50 eggs per gram (very low) in a sample collected at 7am, it's very unlikely to have an egg count of 500 epg (medium) or 1000 epg (high) later in the day if your egg count level of detection is 25 eggs per gram or lower (I use egg count detection of 15 eggs per gram for horse samples). However, a count of 400 epg could be 500 epg or 300 epg if you used a different sample from the same horse the same day. Basically low counts generally stay low. High counts generally stay high. Values on the border between low-medium and medium-high can go either way if you re-do the test with another sample. So this normal variation needs to be taken into account when interpreting the results. This is why parasitologists have a low threshold before recommending treatments. In reality horses with egg counts less than 500 epg are unlikely to have enough worms to increase the risk of colic etc, but treatment is usually recommended for horses with egg counts over 200 epg to take into account variation between manure samples. This reduces the risk of mis-interpreting the result. The history of the horse and the paddock it has been grazing also needs to be taken into account.

    There is no test available for live horses that will give you an "accurate determination of infestation" in terms of telling you exactly how many adult and immature worms are there in the horse at the time. Even a post-mortem exam of the guts will only give an estimate. What a worm egg count will tell you is:
    - Is there any evidence that adult worms survived the last treatment (evidence of resistance)
    - Is there any evidence that immature worms survived the last treatment (evidence of emerging resistance)
    - Is there any evidence that horses are being re-infected since the last treatment (evidence of paddock contamination with larvae)
    - Is the current worm control programme is maintaining low numbers of adult worms in the horse (evidence that combination of treatments/paddock management is working to maintain low egg counts, low pasture contamination, low adult worm numbers)
    - Are there any horses with large worm burdens and at risk of worm disease (evidence of breakdown in worm control)
    - Is there evidence that horses have been contaminating the pasture with worm eggs since the last treatment (evidence of a risky paddock)
    - Is there evidence that new/introduced horses are shedding worm eggs (evidence of a risky paddock if not treated)

    I use a modified worm egg counting method for horses. When I do the egg count, I take a larger sub-sample than usual for the first dilution and I also repeat the test (which means that I end up counting a larger volume of the sample). I then use a table that tells me the range of numbers of eggs I should expect to count for each "real" egg count (the average egg count that I would end up with if I repeated the test hundreds of times on the same sample). If the number of eggs counted in each of the 2 tests are more different to each other than what I would normally expect to find from the same sample at that level of egg count, then I keep repeating the test until I am confident that I'm getting consistent results.

    The biggest factor that affects the accuracy/repeatability of the result for horse samples is using a bigger sample than you would use for sheep, or even cattle. There have been some good studies into the best methods for horses. I can send you the links to the papers if you are really interested :) There is actually some pretty interesting science and statistics that underlie it all. The Ag Department also runs a QA system for worm egg counting labs where you can check your results for samples with "known" concentration of worm eggs. Most of us also use internal controls to check that the testing results are staying consistent and within acceptable levels of accuracy.

    When I send the results to the owner, I explain what category the result falls into and explain what this result means under normal circumstances for factors like expected level of paddock contamination with larvae, efficacy of the last treatment, evidence of resistance, types of treatments that could be considered to include "hidden parasites" (those not detected with an egg count) based on the seasonal conditions and so on. What it won't say is exactly how many worms are in the horse. It will also suggest that you discuss the test results and your worming programme with your vet - treatment decisions (type of treatment, frequency of treatment) need to take into account factors like health of the horse, pasture conditions, horses sharing the grazing and so on.

    Remember - the egg counts are a tool to help refine how you use treatments and pasture management as part of a worm control programme. They don't replace a sensible treatment protocol, physical examination of the horse, common sense and a good understanding of parasite biology/ecology :)
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  13. Faxie

    Faxie Well-known Member

    Another awesome informative post WW! Thanks :)
  14. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

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