Faecal Worm Egg Counts for horses

Posted by Wormers-direct on 13th Jan 2020

Faecal Worm Egg Counts for horses

Our SQP’s (Suitably Qualified Persons) are on hand to help you with your animal health plan using worm egg counts.

Remember that there are certain times of year and certain circumstances when you should treat for specific parasite burdens that are not tested for nor reported in the egg count.  You may need to select certain products to address these circumstances as well as those reported by the laboratory.  We are more than happy to help in these situations so please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries you may have.

We will send you a kit for collection of a faecal sample along with the instructions and paperwork.  The test will be done at the laboratory and we will analyse the results for each horse before making recommendations for an effective animal health plan.

The results are measured in EPG (eggs per gram) which indicates the actual level of worm eggs found.

When we use the symbol < followed by a number such as <200 EPG this means that the level of worm eggs found is less than 200 per gram.

If the count is less than 200 EPG then it is a low count and would suggest that your worming measures are working which would then suggest delaying the next treatment.

If the count is between 200 EPG and 1200 EPG it is a Medium count which would mean that that particular horse needs treatment and perhaps the overall strategy needs some attention.

If the count is more than 1200 EPG it is a High count that horse should be treated without haste and the management and worming strategy and planning will need considerable attention.

Please note the following:

Results cannot show encysted stages of redworm, potentially the most harmful stage of the redworm parasite.  Horses can have burdens in the order of several million encysted larvae yet show a negative or low count (<100 EPG) FWEC (Dowdall et al. 2002, Veterinary Parasitology, 106, 225-42).

Why should I use faecal worm egg count tests?

- In order to avoid unnecessary treatment which can lead to resistance against the active ingredients of popular worming products.

How does faecal egg count testing work at

- We send you sample collection kits complete with rubber glove, sample bag and full information and instruction sheets.

- You return the sample(s) to us using the stamped return envelope provided.  All samples are then checked professionally and the results are sent to you via email along with a basic explanation as to what the results mean.

- Comprehensive further advice on how to proceed with your worming plan is available from our award winning SQP’s via free phone or email.

- If treatment is deemed to be necessary we can then provide you with the right treatment at a highly competitive price.

I want to order a large number of egg count kits but want to send samples back from each horse individually:

- We offer packs of up to 15 faecal worm egg count kits which all come with enough return envelopes to send each sample back individually.

- Discounts on these packs increase with quantity.

I want to order a large number of egg count kits but only need one return envelope to send them back together.

- We offer yard packs from packs of 3-100.

- These all come with just one stamped return envelope to send all samples back together.  For the larger packs (30 and over) we arrange for direct courier collection and delivery from the yard to the laboratory.

- Due to the reduced postage costs the discounts on these are even greater than the individual packs, and again increase with the size of the yard pack ordered.

What do the results show?

- Faecal egg counts detect the level of infestation of small and large adult Redworms as well as adult large Roundworms.

What can the results NOT show?

- The results will not show immature or encysted worms.

- Neither will the results show the level of tapeworm, pinworm burden or bots.

- For these reasons it is important that you use the results only as a guideline for your treatment and testing strategy.  Our SQP’s are always available via free phone and email in office hours to offer you free advice on the correct worming programme for your horse.

Pinworms are not reliably detected in standard egg counts because they don't consistently lay eggs as part of their life-cycle.  Bots and Tapeworm are also not identified in FECs as it is not a definitive test for either.  A separate saliva or blood test can be carried out for tapeworm detection, which we can supply here.  Bots will rarely appear in a dung sample as eggs are not shed at a constant rate and immature parasites don't lay eggs, so an FEC will only ever provide a snapshot of a horse's adult worm burden at that particular time.  FECs are useful to identify which horses are shedding high numbers of worms but are not the whole answer.

Usually results will show Stronglye eggs which is redworm, the most common parasite that affects horses.  When you interpret your results a full risk assessment needs to be undertaken and we could never specifically say that NO treatment is necessary as there are many factors to be considered.  There are occasions when the results are less than accurate due to variations with regard to sample taking, seasonal timing and the actual larvicidal cycle.  The age of the animals can also affect the result as older animals tend to have greater resistance to internal parasites, so the correlation between number of parasites and worm egg count is not always as clear as with younger animals.  We can supply your next testing kit and help you to interpret the results and act accordingly.