With the loss of Equitape horse owners have been lacking a specific tapeworm only medication.
The horse tapeworm, Anoplocephala perfoliata, is thought to be a common parasite of horses though a majority of horses seem to be able to tolerate tapeworm infestations without showing signs of ill thrift or colic.
The equine tapeworm has an interesting long life-cycle involving an intermediate host, the orbibatid mite, increases in number in warm and dry conditions (late summer) and the advice is to treat twice yearly in spring and autumn.
Tapeworms seem to like to live around the ileo-cecal junction and seem to cause mild spasmodic colic symptoms though can progress in some cases to localised impactions and even surgical colics.
Feacal egg counts unfortunately are not suitable to detect Tapeworm eggs as these are infrequently shed. However very occasionally you may find tapeworm segments (proglottids) your horse’s poo. Blood and more recently saliva tests can be used to detect levels of antibodies to tapeworms. HOWEVER;
- there are issues with interpretation of such tests,
- Antibody levels are NOT like egg counts… they do not decline quickly after worming but decline over time at their own individual rate,
- which means repeated tests MAY be unable to detect NEW tapeworm infestations from OLD tapeworm residual antibody levels.
SO you need to discuss with your veterinary surgeon to be able to interpret any Tapeworm test result.
Treatment against tapeworm consists of double doses of the roundworm pyrantel (Strongid-P) or combi- wormers combining roundwormers and praziquantel. Praziquantel has been found to be very effective against A. perfoliata, but Equitape, the stand alone praziquantel wormer, unfortunately is no longer manufactured.
We have managed to procure a ‘special’ manufacture of praziquantel which is now available in 750kg dial-a-dose syringes. This should allow clients a bespoke worming programme to avoid unnecessary additional round worming doses.
Where could this tapewormer fit into your worming programme?
- Late winter when combined with Panacur Guard to avoid use of Equest Pramox?
- Mid summer Tapeworm ONLY treatment to avoid additional roundworm Combi- wormer treatments?