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Faecal Egg Counts

  1. Worming

    Parasitic worms can seriously undermine the health and wellbeing of horses. Ensuring that your horse is not carrying a heavy burden is all part of a day to day health care plan. Now, with worms becoming resistant to some worming drugs, it is essential that regular worm counts are done. This will help preserve existing wormers as horse's will only be wormed when they are needed. Having good pasture maintenance is essential for worm control. This can be done by;

    • ●Avoiding over grazing
    • ●Avoiding over stocking
    • ●Paddock rotation
    • ●Poo-pick
    • ●Cross graze (ideally with sheep)

    We stock a wide variety of horse wormers to suit every horse, just call in and ask to speak to one of our SQP’s on the right treatment for your horse.

    Internal Parasites

    There are many types of worm that use the horse as a host during its lifecycle.

    The degree of damage to the horse depends upon the type of worm/burden,

    its lifecycle and the overall health of the horse.

    Small Redworm (Cyathostomes)

    Small Redworm are the most common type of internal parasite of the horse. Their lifecycle only takes a few weeks to complete from ingestion of larvae to adult egg laying worms. However, they also have the ability to hibernate within the gut wall as small cysts (Encysted Redworm).

     Large Redworm (Strongyles)

    Large Redworm are potentially the most dangerous internal parasite that can affect the horse. The larval stage is the most damaging as they migrate through the blood vessels and develop in the major artery supplying blood to the intestinal tract.

    Large Roundworms (Ascarids)

    Adult Large Roundworms can reach up to 50cm in length and usually only affect foals and young horses. Adult horse aren't usually affected as they develop immunity with age. The horse will often develop a cough as the larvae migrate from the lungs to the small intestines.  


    Donkeys are thought to be the natural host, but horses can also become infected if sharing the same pasture. Donkeys can tolerate a heavy burden without showing any symptoms whereas a horse will quickly develop signs of respiratory distress such as coughing.


    Tapeworms are located in the horses gut, in particular between the small and large intestine. The adult worms attach in clusters to the lining of the gut where they release their eggs.


    Bot flies are a common irritant to grazing horses during the summer months.  The female will lay her eggs on the horse’s coat, usually on the forelegs, shoulder or abdomen.  As the horse grooms itself the eggs hatch and are transferred into the mouth where they burrow into the tongue and mouth before being swallowed. Once in the stomach they attach to the gut lining to continue their development throughout winter.

    What are Faecal Egg Counts?

    To minimise the risk of worm resistance, a targeted approach to the use of wormers is now recommended through the use of faecal egg counts.  They are used to help identify high worm burdens in horses and help prevent unnecessary worming.  A worm count of > 200 eggs per gram (epg) should be treated. Faecal egg counts should be done every 8-10 weeks, as a negative result does not guarantee a horse is parasite free.  This could be down to the horse harbouring immature parasites which haven't started to produce eggs. Hence why regular counts will help detect any burden before it causes any significant issues. Tapeworms cannot be seen in faecal egg counts, however some companies now offer a salvia test to check this.

    What to do?

    1. Grab a fresh faecal sample from your horse about the size of a golf ball.
    2. Place the sample in a carrier bag/container along with your horses name on it.
    3. Call in to store and drop off your sample.
    4. Await your results the same day and find out if any Redworm eggs were present in your horse’s faeces.
    5. Receive expert advice from our SQP’s on what to do next!
    6. Purchase Now


Store Information

icon The Blue Barn LTD

   Pool Road



   West Yorkshire

   LS21 1EG

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