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What is small encysted redworm and how can this affect my horse?

Winter worming can be confusing and the risk of encysted redworm is a worrying factor for all horse owners.

As part of the small redworm (cyathostomins) lifecycle, the eggs contaminate the pasture and the infected stage (L3) is ingested by the horse. During the autumn and winter the L3 burrow within the gut wall of the large intestine and become encysted.

A mass emerge of these encysted larval occurs around spring, causing diarrhoea and colic known as larval cyathostomins. Unfortunately this disease has a mortality rate of 50% and so correct management and prevention is essential.

Management Practices

· Faecal worm egg counts should be regularly conducted as part of your yards targeted worming programme.

· Encysted small redworm cannot be detected by faecal egg counts.

· Worming to target encysted redworm should be given during winter by a moxidectin chemical.

For more information or to get a complimentary consultation from a qualified SQP, contact Ashley (

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