Faecal worm egg counts – keep track of your horse’s worm burden

By Thomas Tzelos on 06 July 2017

Why all the fuss about faecal worm egg counts?

HorseDialog’s guest vlogger Dr Thomas Tzelos of the Moredun Research Institute, Scotland takes us into the laboratory to explain why it pays to keep counting.

Follow our checklist to keep your horse healthy:

  • Count from early spring to late autumn: Conducting regular faecal worm egg counts (FWECs) during the main grazing season will save worming horses unnecessarily which helps to prevent the build-up of resistance to wormers.
  • Keep grazing clean: Regular removal of droppings from the field will help prevent horses ingesting worm eggs passed in dung and re-infecting themselves or their field companions.
  • Don’t forget – encysted small redworm and tapeworm won’t show up in a faecal worm egg count: Treat every horse for encysted small redworm in the late autumn/winter once a year and test or treat for tapeworm at the beginning and end of the grazing season at roughly six months apart.
  • Foals and young horses (<3yrs of age) usually require a different approach. Speak to your vet or SQP for advice.



Thomas qualified from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 2009 and moved to Edinburgh to undertake an MSc in applied animal behaviour and animal welfare. In 2011 he moved to the Moredun Research Institute to undertake a PhD focusing on the application of RNA interference in the ovine nematode Teladorsagia circumcincta. Since January 2015, he has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at Moredun Research Institute in the field of Equine Parasitology.

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