Veterinarians: Dewormer Resistance Must Be Addressed To Avert Equine Welfare Disaster

Though veterinarians and equine caretakers around the world have stressed the importance of forgoing the once-standard practice of rotational deworming, a recent study shows that dewormer resistance is still looming. Currently, small redworms and large roundworms are resistant to all available dewormers; no new dewormers are currently in creation.

Members of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) anthelmintic working group wrote to the Veterinary Record to express their concern over the findings of a small-scale study. Dr. David Rendle and his colleagues state that a “anthelmintic resistance disaster” is looming unless horse owners change horse-keeping ways.  

The study found that although there has been an uptick in the number of fecal worm egg counts (FWECs) performed, there has not been a corresponding downward trend in dewormer sales. The BEVA working group gathered information on the number of fecal worm egg counts completed and the sale of dewormers in the U.K. from 2015 to 2018. 

Though FWECs increased by 29 percent, the doses of dewormer sold only fell by 2.9 percent over the same period. The sale of these drugs dropped 8 percent between 2015 and 2016, and then rose every year after that.

If the deworming guidelines were being followed correctly, and dewormers would only be given when a FWEC deemed them necessary. There should be at least twice as many FWECs completed as doses of dewormer sold. However, the data shows that there was only one FWEC completed for every 11 doses of dewormer sold.  

The authors also point out that moxidectin sales remained high throughout the study period though experts have noted that it should not be used as a routine dewormer in horses. 

Read more here.  

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