Winter Reduction Tests for all subscribers

SUbscriber Winter Parasite Control

Winter is a great time to add a reduction test into your worming programme. A reduction test checks how effective a treatment has been and whether any wormer resistance may be present. We build one into the subscriber programme in winter because:

    • We're most likely to treat proactively at this time of year for encysted small redworm.
    • The treatments against small redworm are some of our most important to preserve.

What happens next?

As a subscriber, we will advise what to do and when at the appropriate time, so please delay your winter worming treatment until you hear from us first. 

We’ll enclose a worm egg count at the appropriate time to carry out for your horse. This will usually be between December and February, 8-12 week after your last worm egg count. This will give us useful information but it can’t detect encysted stages of the small redworm. For this reason you will also need to either treat proactively with a suitable wormer or blood test with your vet (see below). If you’re treating we’ll also use this opportunity to carry out a reduction test to measure the effectiveness of the chemical.

Reduction Testing is a 3-Step Process

Decide when you're going to give your treatment for encysted small reworm. The is usually between December and February, 8-12 week after your last worm egg count.

        1. TEST: Take a worm egg count in the usual way. Await the results.
        2. TREAT: With the appropriate worming product.
        3. TEST AGAIN: If the first worm egg count was 200 e.p.g. or over, then we will send you a separate worm egg count for you to use as a reduction test 10-14 days after worming treatment. This will monitor whether any resistance is present to the chemical that was used. If the first worm egg count came back as <50 e.p.g. then there's no need to carry out a reduction test.

what to treat with

Moxidectin (Equest) is the preferred treatment for encysted redworm for most equines, particularly if targeting bots at the same time. There are circumstances where a 5 day course of fenbendazole (Panacur Equine Guard) is more appropriate - where moxidectin is contra-indicated and for youngstock who are also susceptible to ascarid infection.

If you have also carried out an EquiSal test (included within the Complete Care plan only) which shows tapeworm treatment is also required then a moxidectin + praziquantel (Equest Pramox) is the choice in most cases unless age, underlying health problems or personal preference would preclude the use of a combination wormer.

Horses on our high risk programme will worm count twice in the winter – in exceptional circumstances a second treatment for encysted redworm may be required.

the small redworm blood test

If your horse is classed as low risk, has had worm egg counts consistently below 200 e.p.g. over the last year, is in a closed herd with good paddock management then they may be a candidate for the encysted redworm blood test. This innovative test detects encysted as well as adult stages of the small redworm and gives a recommendation as to whether treatment is advised or not. Of course it is an additional cost but every horse that does not require a moxidectin dose is helping preserve this key medicine and delay resistance.

WARNINGS: 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.