at the National Equine Show
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. Top riders Piggy March, Miri Hackett and Anna Bridges gathered at the National Equine Show, Birmingham 4th March 2023 with CANTER representatives to support the launch of this new initiative.
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. 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.
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.”
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.
The aim is to support a consistent approach to parasite control across the equine community and to become a ‘single source of truth’ on issues related to antiparasitic resistance in equines, in an area that has traditionally seen some mixed messaging.
CANTER Core Steering Group members Claire Shand from Westgate Labs, Dr Claire Stratford from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Claire Williams from the British Equestrian Trade Association CANTER officially launched CANTER in a presentation on the Skills Stage. They called for horse owners to assess parasite risk with their prescriber, test first to target treatment and poo pick paddocks, all to reduce exposure to wormers and the development of resistance.
Piggy March urges support for free Parasite Risk Profile for Horse Owners
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.
David Rendle, President of The British Equine Veterinary Association 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.”
Badminton and Burghley winner, Piggy March, is supporting the campaign and comments:
“I am supporting the CANTER initiative which aims to reduce the threat worms pose to our horses. It is more important now than ever to ensure we are future proofing our equine population in the UK. Go online and complete the risk checker to find out how at risk your horse is of getting parasites and to ensure we can all do our bit to keep our horses healthy.”
Additional quotes from representatives from across the sectors involved in CANTER can be found at https://canterforhorses.org.uk/representatives/
Left to right, top row
Pharmaceutical, Amy Hook from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd
Regulatory, Jodie Perrett from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate
Veterinary, Julia Shrubb from The British Equine Veterinary Association
Horse Trainer and influencer Miri Hackett
Diagnostics, Diane Gilby from Intelligent Worming
Prescribers, Claire Williams from the British Equestrian Trade Association
Left to right, bottom row Badminton and Burghley winner Piggy March
Regulatory, Dr Claire Stratford from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate
International Endurance Rider Anna Bridges
Diagnostics, Claire Shand from Westgate Labs