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Worm Count FAQs

Some of your common questions about worm counts
Why should I use worm egg counts in my worming programme?

Just like bacteria and antibiotics worms are evolving to become resistant to the drugs we have available. We are trying to reduce the amount of times we expose our horses to these chemicals so as to slow down this development. There are only a handful of drugs licenced to treat parasites and already well documented resistance to some. In many cases you will be able to cut down on the amount of chemicals going into your horse and out onto the pasture. You can target the correct wormers at the horse who needs them instead of wasting doses on ‘clean’ horses. As resistance develops it is no longer safe to rely on worming without backing this up with the evidence of worm counts and tests to ensure treatment has been effective.

I’ve heard that worm egg counts don’t show all the worms though?
That is correct - we need to use the right tests on a regular schedule to manage the parasite burdens in our horses. Worm counts every 8-12 weeks should form the cornerstone of a parasite control programme to monitor adult, egg laying stages of redworm and roundworm. Encysted stages of redworm are not mature so don’t lay the eggs which are counted in the dung sample. It is important to treat with an effective product in the winter months then you can rely on your worm count results over the next season. Tapeworm eggs often appear in dung samples but a worm egg count is not reliable for detecting tapeworm. Use the Equisal saliva test twice a year instead. Pinworm lay their eggs outside the body and rarely show up in a worm egg count. Instead use the adhesive tape impression test to aid detection of this parasite.
I’m reluctant to give up regular worming, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Following a complicated and expensive worming programme does not guarantee that your horse will be free of parasites. Westgate Labs test many horses who have been on worming programmes and still have medium or high worm count results.Growing resistance to some worming drugs means that they may not be effective for your horse. This can only get worse in years to come and there are no new worming drugs. Regular worm counts can identify parasite problems, sometimes only affecting one horse in a herd, so they can be correctly treated.
How do I know the test is reliable?
Westgate Laboratories uses the industry standard ‘modified Mcmaster’ egg count method. Samples are prepared using a centrifuge to spin out more worm eggs from the faeces. Two slides are run out for examination under the microscope and an average count made of the two. This method is far superior to simple strained methods which you might find elsewhere. The EquiSal saliva test is also very reliable having been rigorously tested, validated and peer reviewed so you can have every confidence in relying on your results.
How can I keep track of my worm count programme?
if you've had counts with us before simply log in to your account using the facility at the top of the page to login and view records of your animals' results. Alternatively Westgate provides a colourful free record card to record all worm counts and wormers given. So, no more guess work needed, use worm counts and be sure your horse is properly wormed.

Buying through our online shop

Receiving and returning your items
Shipping of your items
Worm count kits and items from the online shop are sent by Royal Mail first class packet post. A flat charge of £2.00 for postage and packing is added to your total order to go towards these costs. We aim to process orders on the day they are received – at busy times please allow up to 24hrs. Orders received before 2pm will catch the same day post, any orders made after 2pm will be sent the following day. All being well with the postal service you should receive your order within two – three working days. All prices listed on our website are in pounds sterling and include VAT at 20% where applicable.
Overseas orders
We have a number of customers using our postal worm count service from outside the UK, mainly from Ireland and central Europe, where the postal service is swift enough to allow the samples to reach us in good condition and export laws allow the transition of animal samples across border controls. To be viable samples must be received in the laboratory within 6 days of collection. We advise picking a fresh sample and posting on a Monday if possible to give the postal service the best chance of the package getting to us on time. Equisal test kits are only available in the UK at present. For queries outside the UK please contact the EquiSal laboratory direct:
Returning samples to the lab
All worm count kits purchased from Westgate Labs contain postage paid return envelopes for ease of returning the samples to the lab. Once you have collected the sample simply pop it into the addressed envelope and post in your nearest Royal Mail post box. This system only works within the UK and overseas customers will need to cover return carriage for their samples.
Our returns policy
We hope that you will be satisfied with everything you buy from us, however if this is not the case, we promise to refund any item you are unhappy with when you return it to us in a sale-able condition within 14 days of the date shown on your dispatch note. We do not refund return postage unless the item is faulty.
Receiving your results
Results from the lab service of any sample can be returned to you by email, text, phone or post. Simply select the most convenient option to you when you return your sample. All samples are processed on the day that we receive them in the post, worm egg count, pinworm and liver fluke test results will be available the same day. EquiSal tapeworm and lungworm sedimentation test results take a few days but test results should be returned within the week. If you need any followup advice then our friendly team of SQPs will be happy to help.


when accessing our services
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We are committed to making our website usable by all people, whatever their abilities or disabilities. Find the right assistive technology to customise this site to your needs. While the site has been created to be usable ‘as is’, many people are likely to get the most accessible experience of using this site by customising their computer to suit their individual needs – for example: to get the site spoken to them, to change its colour-scheme, or increase the size of its fonts. My Web My Way home page If that sounds like it would be useful to you, we recommend you visit BBC My Web, My Way to watch videos of how these customisations – either using accessibility features of your computer or through installing assistive technologies – might suit you.
Limitations of this site’s accessibility
While we’ve done a lot to ensure this site’s accessibility, you may find some limitations: Although we always aim to communicate clearly and as simply as possible, some of the articles may require a reasonable level of technical understanding due to the technical nature of the services we provide. While the site has been created using up to date software and techniques, the site has not been fully user-tested with disabled people. If you find anything on the site difficult to use please contact us to let us know and we will be pleased to help. All constructive feedback regarding the accessibility or usability of this website is welcome and will be carefully considered. This statement was last updated June 2017 and follows the advice on accessibility statements in British Standard BS 8878.


Information about subscriptions
What is the All Seasons Subscription?

The All Seasons Subscription service is a monthly payment plan that provides you with access to the Westgate Labs total parasite test control service.

You will be sent the right test at the right time of year in accordance with your bespoke parasite control programme.

As an example the monthly subscription plan for a Healthy Adult Horse provides a worm egg count or appropriate test sent approximately every three months. The monthly subscription plan for a High Risk Horse e.g. foal or veteran horse, provides a worm egg count or appropriate test sent approximately every two months.

What tests are included in the All Seasons Subscription?

Healthy Adult Horse
Subscription includes on average three worm egg counts, one resistance test and two Equisal saliva tests.

Young and High Risk Horse
Subscription includes on average six worm egg counts, one resistance test and two Equisal saliva tests per year.

All Subscription Plans provide access to additional parasite tests such as for resistance, pinworm, lungworm or liver fluke, up to a total value of £25.00 per year, at no further charge to you. 

Why is there a difference in price for Young or High Risk Horses?

Foals and young horses under the age of four are especially vulnerable as their immune system takes time to mature.

Older horses, horses with laminitis, EMS, ulcers or conditions impacting on their immune function need extra support. Horses that compete or train away from home on a regular basis will be exposed at show venues etc. to areas of potential contamination. 

Both groups therefore need a careful and more frequent schedule of tests and treatment to help ensure a healthier life.


What if I change my horse?

Your All Seasons subscription plan is designed to provide your individual horse with a bespoke plan just for them and their individual needs. It is important that you therefore let us know of any changes in circumstances.

If you change your horse then simply cancel* your current subscription. If you want to add another horse then sign up to All Seasons with their details.

* terms and conditions may apply

How does it work?

You can sign up via

Choose which subscription plan is right for your horse then follow the instructions and answer any questions needed to determine the right plan for your horse. Once you have completed all the sign up details, including shipping and payment details, you will receive notification from us of your subscription plan.

At the right time, we will then send you the test you need for your horse to target the correct parasites at the appropriate time of year.

When you receive the test, follow the instructions and pop the sample in the post as instructed. We will then contact you with your results.

If you are unsure what action is needed based on those results, then just contact us and we will be happy to provide you with veterinary approved advice from our qualified SQPs.