It’s tapeworm time
16 March 2016
but think twice before reaching for the wormer!
Spring is in the air and already we horse owners are receiving plenty of marketing messages to remind us that its tapeworm time again. True, we do need to think about this potentially troublesome parasite but our mantra would be to save the chemicals and reach for an EquiSal tapeworm test as a first port of call.
Along with three monthly worm counts for redworm and roundworm, six monthly tapeworm tests form the back-bone of a targeted worming programme. The EquiSal tapeworm kit is a reliable ELISA test that measures antibodies to the tapeworm present in the horse’s saliva. Results give an accurate reading that determines the level of infection and whether the horse needs worming or not.
Anecdotal evidence from the thousands of horses tested for tapeworm over the last couple of years indicates that only 20-30% of those tested actually need a dose for tapeworm. That’s a lot of horses receiving unnecessary chemicals.
Conversely others such as Teddy, a 20 year old Welsh part bred pictured left, came back with a high tapeworm burden the first time he was tested, despite being regularly dosed for the parasite and always having a low worm count. The result was a surprise but luckily by becoming aware of the problem and changing the treatment drug his next test taken four months later came back clear and he has not needed any further treatment since.
Developed by Austin Davies Biologics laboratory this innovative kit is the first of its kind as a test that horse owners can take themselves. A small swab is popped into the side of the horse’s mouth until the indicator on the base turns pink and this is what is sent away to the lab for processing. Previously the only way to test for tapeworm has been with a blood test taken by the vet.
Easy to do and competitively priced at £17.95 we would urge all horse owners to reach for a test kit the next time they need to consider tapeworm in their worm control programmes.