While wormer resistance is not a new problem – it was first recorded in sheep in the early 1980’s – Westgate Laboratories said the industry is feeling the impact of its effects ever more keenly and this will only increase if horse owners and carers choose not to heed the warnings about the sustainable use of drugs.
Claire Shand, director of marketing and communications at Westgate Laboratories, said: “The topic of wormer resistance has been making a splash in the headlines recently. Horse & Hound ran a news story, on May 11, stressing the importance of diagnostic testing to ensure effective and sustainable parasite control.
“This was prompted by research from Professor Martin Nielsen of Gluck Equine Research Centre at the University of Kentucky, published in the April 2017 edition of Equine Disease Quarterly, that suggested parasite resistance to at least one drug class is likely to be present in equines across the world.”
Ms Shand added: “This means using evidence based parasite control programmes, only giving a wormer when the tests indicate and for specific seasonal problems like encysted small redworm, bots etc. Wherever possible pasture management techniques should be employed to help break the lifecycle of worms mechanically, by poo picking, cross grazing and resting paddocks, rather than relying on chemical intervention.”
To raise awareness, Westgate Laboratories has produced a short video, available below, to explain how resistance develops and what steps horse owners can take to combat it.