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For Equine Vets Everywhere

Cheap wormer promotion may undermine efforts to combat anthelmintic resistance, says BEVA

News Health and Medicines Committee
09 Feb 2022 BEVA

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has spoken of concern about a potentially damaging recent online promotion from a pet care retailer advertising cheap horse wormers.

The advertisement from the well-known retailer was promoting ‘Horse wormers from £4.33’. The Association believes the advertisement could motivate horse owners to make the wrong decisions about equine worm control, based solely on costs rather than clinical need.

The issue is already being discussed within horse owner facing media with the equestrian weekly title Horse & Hound having recently published an article, with comment included from BEVA.

David Rendle Chair of BEVA’s Health and Medicines Committee said: "It is exceedingly disappointing to see de-wormers being advertised in this way by companies who are putting their short-term profits above equine welfare and the long-term effectiveness of these products.

“We now have resistance to every class of de-wormer and it is grossly irresponsible to be promoting these products based on their low cost. These products should only be used where there has been careful consideration of the risk of clinical disease and appropriate diagnostic testing.

“Antibacterial drugs would never be advertised in this way so why is it acceptable for de-wormers? Resistant worms pose a far more immediate threat to equine welfare than resistant bacteria.  Is the equine industry ever going to wake up to the threat that resistant parasites pose to equine welfare and the future viability of the industry?”

The company involved has subsequently expressed its regret about the content of the promotion and plans to review its communications to ensure the right advice is given.

BEVA recommends that all horse owners should have a veterinary-led parasite control programme for their horse(s) and should only use de-wormers where they are essential to reduce to risk of clinical disease.

To find out more about the latest science behind equine de-worming click here.