Winter worm control For horses tapeworm testing Summer/Winter

Winter worm control

For horses tapeworm testing Summer/Winter

The winter protocol varies slightly compared to the other seasons as we need to consider targeting encysted redworm.

☀️❄️ This information is for subscribers that have chosen to test their horses for tapeworm in the Summer and Winter and need to know what their winter parasite control programme will be.

There are a number of things to take into consideration for each individual horse; we know that it's tempting to want a date in the calendar but in practice parasites don't have diaries and we need to consider factors such as environment, ground temperatures, if your horse may qualify for the small redworm blood test and also your horse's overall parasite control programme.

🚨 Please wait to hear from us first before worming for encysted redworm so we can provide you with the best winter treatment plan for your horse.

The information below outlines the general principles and gives you an idea of what to expect.

Going into the winter months you’ll need to target encysted redworm, tapeworm and potentially bots for your horses too. 

  1. Between December and February we’ll send you a worm egg count and an EquiSal test to complete for your horse(s). Test your horse; WHATEVER the result you’ll need to treat for encysted redworm but what with depends on the EquiSal result. We have the use of either moxidectin (Equest and Equest Pramox) or a 5 day fenbendazole (Pancur Equine Guard). Praziquantel, available only via your vet, is for the specific treatment of tapeworm, The guide below outlines what chemical to use depending on your test results:
  • Positive worm count and EquiSal; Moxidectin and Praziquantel
    Moxidectin is the preferred treatment for encysted redworm, particularly if targeting bots at the same time.
  • Negative worm count, positive EquiSal test; Moxidectin and Praziquantel
  • Positive worm count, negative EquiSal test; Moxidectin only
  • Negative worm count, negative EquiSal test; moxidectin only
  • There are circumstances when moxidectin is contra-indicated and where a 5 day course of fenbendazole is more appropriate to treat encysted redworm  such as for young horses under four who are also susceptible to roundworm infection, foals under 4 months, underweight horses or those in poor condition.

    If you need to treat for encysted redworm and tapeworm at the same time there might also be situations for instance with sensitive horses, where it may be preferable to split the moxidectin/praziquantel dose of a combined wormer and give a probiotic. Contact us if you’re unsure.
  1. If the winter worm egg count comes back positive, we’ll send you a reduction test to help monitor drug resistance and check that treatment has been effective. Worm and 10-14 days later take another worm egg count.
  2. Horses on the high risk programme will worm count again later in the winter – in exceptional circumstances a second treatment for encysted redworm may be required. 

Small Redworm Blood Test

According to advice, horses with previous faecal egg count results >200epg within the last year are considered high risk and may not be appropriate for this innovative new test, so we will advise that you should give a routine worming treatment.

If your horse is classed as low risk <200epg within the last year, is in a closed herd with good paddock management and there is frequent poo picking, then we will be in touch to suggest that you chat with your vet further about this test.

Every horse that does not require a moxidectin dose is helping preserve to the chemical and delay resistance.

Test Results

If you are not sure what the results mean then we have a handy guide on our website 'What Do My Results Mean?' or if you still aren't certain then please contact us via email or phone.


⚠️ Moxidectin shouldn't be given to underweight horses, foals under 4 months old (6.5 months if also combined with praziquantel) and isn't licenced for donkeys. We also advise caution if using it in miniature Shetlands unless you can calculate dosage accurately. This is because the active ingredient is stored in body fat and these animals don't have sufficient stores to take up the drug.