CANTER: A new group to combat wormer resistance is launched | British Equine Veterinary Association
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CANTER: A new group to combat wormer resistance is launched

News Medicines
27 Mar 2023 BEVA

A new pan-industry group, the first of its kind worldwide, has been formed to tackle the increasing threat that wormer resistance poses to horse health and the equine industry. Termed CANTER to communicate the urgency of its crusade, Controlling ANTiparasitic resistance in Equines Responsibly brings together voluntary representation from the widest reaches of the sector, including BEVA representatives. These include leading experts in the field across prescribers, diagnostic providers, pharmaceutical companies, trade organisations, technical experts, horse owners, charities, and policy makers. All recognise the critical consequences of antiparasitic resistance and the need for coordinated action to slow the development and maintain efficacy of our limited treatments.

At its outset the group are prioritising four strands of activity; Best Practice Guidelines will be published before the end of 2023 to give prescribers evidence-based guidance and information on sustainable, responsible, and practical strategies for parasite control in equines. Faecal egg count guidance will be produced to inform protocols on collecting, processing, and interpreting the results and promote effective use of diagnostic and monitoring tools. A research arm has been formed to identify knowledge gaps and opportunities and a communication strategy is being developed to disseminate this information.

To support the launch and call to action, CANTER has developed a free profiling resource for horse owners. The Parasite Risk Table and supporting infographics are intended to highlight the broad range of factors that influence a horse’s parasite risk. Working through the risk factors of the CANTER acronym: Clinical history, Age Profile, Number of horses, Test results, Environment to give an overall parasite Risk profile, the aim is to provide an easy assessment tool to categorise horses as low, medium or high risk of parasite infection and disease and to discuss appropriate action with their prescriber.

Formation of the group has been masterminded by Dr Claire Stratford, Core Steering Group lead of CANTER, from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. She comments “We’ve come so far in a short time and that’s down to the passion that so many people have brought to this project. It’s really exciting be working with experts and key opinion leaders to make progress on this serious issue. I hope that CANTER will raise awareness and stimulate action across the equine community towards sustainable parasite control. Our aim is for CANTER to become the trusted source of information for prescribers and horse owners and to facilitate informed discussion about this important aspect of horse health.”

BEVA President, David Rendle, comments “Anthelmintic resistance represents a huge threat to equine health and welfare. Universal adoption of a diagnostic led approach to parasite control and a dramatic reduction in the use of anthelmintics is what’s needed to address this, and I hope, what CANTER will provide the impetus for. If horse owners don’t make these changes now, it will be too late. Risk factors for parasite associated disease should always be considered when developing a plan for diagnostic led parasite control and diagnostics and treatments should be considered within that framework having already considered the risks. We have to get away from ad hoc use of egg counts and treatments.” 

Julia Shrubb, member of CANTER core steering and diagnostic subgroups and BEVA Anthelmintic Resistance Working Group, adds "CANTER is much needed initiative. The only way to tackle the very concerning anthelmintic resistance crisis is by coordinating our efforts with the whole equine industry". 

For more information, and to access resources that can be shared with horse owners, visit our website.

CANTER initiative compliments the work being done by the BEVA Anthelmintic Resistance Working Group, with most members involved in CANTER. The current BEVA Anthelmintic Resistance Working Group includes David Rendle, Nicola Steele, Tim Mair, Mark Bowen, Victoria South, Jane Hodgkinson and Julia Shrubb.