Time to test or treat for encysted small redworm
As the weather draws colder (finally!) its time to start thinking about your plan of action for encysted small redworm.
The quick version:
Either worm your equines for encysted redworm during winter using Equest, pramox or panacur 5 day guard (resistance test 10-14 days if using panacur), or speak to your vet about the encysted redworm blood test as an alternative option.
The longer in-depth version:
Grab a cuppa, cos this is quite the lengthy subject!
This unique (and annoying) lifestage of the small redworm involves them encysting in a dormant state inside the horses gut during the winter months. As they dont breed and lay eggs they then cant be detected in normal worm counts, so we cant be certain there are non that have entered this state. Not all small redworm do encyst, and many now remain active throughout winter in an adult state (thanks global warming!) but some may, and we cant really predict if they will or wont. If a lot of redworm do encyst, once the weather warms up in spring they all start to emerge, causing possible colic as they all emerge at once and other problems associated with a heavy redworm burden. This can cause dismay to the horse owner as the horse often tested clear in the autumn on a regular worm count, but during the winter these encysted stages lay inside the horse undetected, and treatment can often be a little tricky timing wise, as its very much weather dependant and treating too early could mean a second dose would be needed in late winter.
When it comes to tackling this pesky parasite, the options are basically test or treat. A blood test was developed last autumn by Equisal (who make the fantastic tapeworm test that we stock). This blood test can detect encysted stages of redworm, and needs to have blood drawn by your vet and then sent off for testing to equisal. Its only suitable for equines who have a history of low or clear worm counts throughout the year. If your horse has tested medium or high during the year, then treatment would be more suitable. The optimal time for the blood test is between September-December, but you can also test in Jan-end of March if needed. The clever folks at Equisal are working on a saliva test version similar to the tapeworm test which we are so incredibly excited for as it will be more affordable and convenient, and as soon as its ready we will be stocking it and using it ourselves, hopefully within the next couple of years!
For many of us (our own yard included), blood testing via our vets is quite expensive, so the alternative and most common method of dealing with "the encysted problem" is to give a treatment during the winter months. We tend to aim for Christmas or New Year as its easy to remember each year and get into a habit, ensuring you dont miss this dose.
The only chemicals that kill these encysted stages are:
Moxidectin (this is Equest green tube and Pramox blue tube). This is a suitable choice for most healthy horses, its still our most effective wormer, and lasts up to 12 weeks, although reports of reduced activity time are becoming more frequent and we are personally seeing reinfection after just 8 weeks here in the lab due to its over use in the equine industry causing resistance to creep in.
When using Equest products its important to weigh your horse to dose effectively. You dont want to under dose but equally this is a strong wormer, you dont want to overdose as the safety margin is lower than the older traditional wormers. We hear often "oh I just give a full tube", but unless your horse is bang on 700kg a full tube wont be needed, and research has shown we often overestimate how much our horses weigh. You can use a weigh tape (we have some for sale on the website or you can grab one at a tack shop), but they can be a little inaccurate so add on 10% to the result to avoid under dosing. Moxidectin will also cover bots which would be a good choice especially if you live in an area with bot issues (summer sores).
In certain cases an Equest product may not be suitable for your equine. This would include those with bad ulcer problems as the gel can irritate the gut and cause a flare up, severe lami prone equines, or those with other health issues, or young foals etc. For these the only other chemical that kills encysted stages is panacur 5 day guard (fenbendazole). This is the liquid bottle that you add to feed for 5 days. It does have resistance issues, and if you choose to use this its worth doing a worm count 10-14 days after use to check for resistance. My own mare (lami, PPID, sweet itch, stomach issues, old) gets this each year, but given that she tests clear constantly throughout each year she would be an ideal candidate for the blood test as probably doesnt have encysted redworm.
Each year there is a lot of confusion with clients unsure what to do because their horses have tested clear or low, and no treatment is needed right now based on the result. These horses should still be treated for encysted stages at some point during the wintertime, but you have a bigger window for timing.
As always, if you need advice for your individual horses please do send us a message to the page or email us at so we can have a chat about the best course of action for you. Those of us with our parasite control calendars will see it has a cheat sheet on the side with info of what to do when, to help you plan your year of parasite control.
VAT Threshold price increases & postage changes
To all our lovely customers
What a year its been!
Firstly we want to say a massive thank you to every single customer who has tested with us both this year during Covid & before hand when things were slightly more normal, your support means the world to us <3
Since starting Poopost our goal has always been to make quality testing more affordable for horse owners, especially for those who own multiple animals or want to test whole yards, bringing significant savings when testing multiple samples with us at the same time. We have so far managed to keep our prices the same since starting, but sadly we have now passed the VAT threshold & are having to register for VAT & put our prices up slightly to reflect this.
Whilst the prices have had to increase slightly on our kits, we still offer a fantastic value for money service. Each worm count kit you buy comes with free outgoing postage to yourself, free return postage to us, all the gear needed to take the sample, quality testing using industry standard methods, results sent by email or sms, unlimited free follow up advice from our SQP, and free replacement kits if anything goes wrong with the post.
The other change that we are having to implement is postage. For most of this year we have had a system of standard free delivery being Royal Mail 2nd Class, with the option to upgrade to 1st class for 25p. We are changing this so that all free delivery will be 1st class, without having to pay the 25p charge, to allow you all to get your kits faster.
The flipside however, is we have had to introduce a postage charge where an order contains an Equisal kit. This is because due to their higher value, and the likelyhood of Royal Mail losing them, we have to send them via "signed for" services or special delivery for larger numbers. This has meant for a long time that we have earned very little on these kits once the postage is paid, which we have taken the hit on for most of this year. We love tapeworm testing and want to continue stocking this important tool in parasite control, so a postage charge of £2 will be applied where your order contains one or multiple Equisal items. These will be sent using Royal Mail 1st class signed for, or in cases where you order a lot of equisals from us, Special delivery to reach you the next day. If you are only ordering worm count kits, pinworm kits, lungworm kits, farm animal kits, or you are ordering year kits or year kit plusses, theres no postage charge, and everything will be delivered first class.
With us being so busy this year, what with covid meaning we have been understaffed all year due to social distancing, postal issues, lockdown etc we haven't really had time to emphasise what makes us great or promote ourselves. Many newer customers for example may not even know that reusing our hard plastic poopots is one of the things we are known for. As we test thousands of samples, imagine how much plastic has been prevented from ending up in landfill by our unique poopot reuse & recycle scheme. An average pot goes out 5+ times before being sterilised its final time & going for recycling. Our recommendations here on facebook speak for themselves, as do all the recommendations any time worm counts are mentioned in a facebook group, and we are so very grateful to everyone who leaves us a review or mentions us in groups ☺️
Despite all the covid setbacks, we have had our most successful year so far & are really excited for what next year will bring.
So we wanted to say thank you, for choosing us, for sticking with us & supporting us. It really is true that when you order from a small business someone does a little happy dance, & helps them believe that hard work eventually does pay off <3
We hope you will all stick with us, & thank you once again.
We always try our very best to deliver a quality service & work very hard to achieve this.