Advice and Useful Tips for your animals.

Spring into action against Tapeworm

Rosie Naylor BVetMed MVetMed DipACVIM PhD MRCVS RCVS Specialist in Equine Internal Medicine, Technical Product Manager - Equine, Virbac UK Tapeworm are an important risk factor for various types of colic in horses1. Adult tapeworm tend to cluster around the narrow junction between the small and the large intestine. This can result in blockages which prevent the passage of food. Tapeworm eggs are passed in segments which means that they will not necessarily be detected by routine faecal egg count testing. All horses are at risk of tapeworm infection, however younger and older horses may require more tapeworm treatments.2,3


  • Testing or treatment for tapeworm should be incorporated into the annual worming programme, once or twice per year.
  • Faecal egg counts do not reliably detect tapeworm. If specific testing is not performed, treatment should be administered.
  • Traditionally tapeworm treatment has been recommended in the spring and autumn, at the start and at the end of the grazing season.
  • Only two wormer ingredients are effective against tapeworms, pyrantel (used at twice the standard dose rate) which controls one species of tapeworm or praziquantel at the standard dose, which kills all three species of tapeworm known to affect horses.
  • Speak to your vet or SQP for direction on tapeworm treatment.


  • Have an accurate idea of your horse’s weight, and don’t forget this can change significantly through the grazing season!
  • For help on using a weight tape watch the ‘how to’ video at
  • Make sure there is enough drug in your wormer treatment to treat your horse’s bodyweight. Syringes can contain 600kg or 700 kg doses. For larger horses tablets are available that treat up to 800kg.


  • Avoid spit out. For horse’s that are difficult to worm with a syringe, tablets are available.
  • Don’t forget wormer drugs can be poisonous to other animals. Dispose of your used syringes carefully!
Brought to you by Virbac, the manufacturer of Equimax® and Eraquell®. To find out more about 3D Worming visit or find us on Facebook at


1Proudman, C.J. and Holstock, N.J. (2000) Investigation of an outbreak of tapeworm-associated colic in a training yard. Equine Vet J. 2Lightbody, K.L., Matthews, J.B., Kemp-Symonds, J.G., Lambert, P.A. and Austin, C.J. (2018) Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify tapeworm infection in horses in the UK. Equine Vet J. 3Proudman, C.J., Holmes, M.A., Shearan, A.S., Edwards, S.E.R. and Trees, A.J. (1997) Immunoepidemiology of the equine tapeworm Anoplocephala perfoliata: age-intensity profile and age-dependency of antibody subtype responses. Parasitology.
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