Equine Faecal Worm Egg Counts

In-house laboratory

The heavy use of wormers in horses over the past 20 years has unfortunately led to a significant amount of worm resistance within the equine population. This means that some wormers are no longer effective at eliminating worm burdens in some horses. These problems can be overcome relatively easily by monitoring the faecal worm egg count (FWEC) of all horses at regular intervals. This ensures only those individuals with a significant worm burden are treated using appropriate wormers at appropriate times, thereby reducing the problem of resistance.

The FWEC is a relatively simple procedure. To do this we need you to provide a small amount of your horse’s droppings, a heaped teaspoon size (selected from more than one nugget). The sample should be as fresh as possible, ideally being delivered to the practice within 24 hours of collection. Alternatively, samples can be sent by first class post. We prefer samples to be placed into one of our FWEC pots and sent with a completed FWEC submission form. Pots and submission forms can be collected from the practice or from one of our vets.

Click HERE for a simple guide to collecting a faecal worm egg count sample.

Click HERE to download a FWEC submission form.

For those samples coming from a larger yards, it helps to call the practice in advance on 01509 812445.

Following analysis of each sample, we aim to contact you with your results within 48 hours. This gives your vet the opportunity to advise you on any further treatment, considering our knowledge of your horse. This also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions, a service of which is all included in the lab fee.

Unfortunately tapeworms are not detected by routine worm egg counts. Tapeworm blood or saliva tests are used to assess the presence of tapeworm.

Pinworms can sometimes be hard to identify and may need a specific test.

Unfortunately there is no available diagnostic test (this may be changing soon) to determine if horses are carrying large burdens of ‘encysted’ (immature) small strongyles. Therefore, it is advisable that all young horses or others at risk are treated for this type of worm once a year.  Our vets can advise you further if you have any questions.