Deworming: Majority of Readers Don't Utilize Fecal Egg Count Exams

More than 600 readers of responded to a poll asking, "How often do you utilize fecal egg count exams?"


results of poll on fecal egg counts

Results were as follows: 

  • Never 55.72% (341)
  • As directed by my veterinarian 17.65% (108)
  • Annually 12.91% (79)
  • Other 11.76% (72)
  • For new arrivals at the barn 1.96% (12)

Readers shared why or why they don�t use fecal egg counts in the comments below.

Poll sponsored by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Results of weekly polls from are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter. Published every week, this e-newsletter offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters using the form above or on our e-newsletter page.  

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  • I do FECs several times a year to determine the need for deworming
  • if a client objects to the rotational deworming program they have the fecal egg count option
  • 4 to 5 years
  • I rotate wormers every 2 months
  • Usually 3-4 times per year. Cannot know if dewormer works without an FEC
  • with established herd that has been together for 4 months, I sample afew every 2-3 months to monitor
  • Never, I deworm every other month while rotating dewormers and my horse is happy and healthy.
  • when i suspect worm
  • we do fecal counts and worm accordingly
  • OMG, I don't have time to do this and it's not really that reliable. Worm per Vet's instructions
  • 2 x p/year
  • It's not done much here. Vet never suggested it.
  • Our vet does a fecal check twice a year with wellness exam
  • I do fecal egg counts on my horses 4 times a year, I use a natural dewormer and they have been nega
  • 4x yr
  • if a specific concerns indicates
  • Whenever I can get a "vet" to do it--and let me see the slide!
  • ONe time
  • or if it seems like I'm having an issue
  • I deworm all my horses regularly.
  • recently every 6 weeks because of resistance developed to daily wormer
  • Just worm 'em 4X year.
  • 2 -3 times per year - depending upon the results
  • Never done it but am considering it due to info about resistance in worms with dewormers
  • 4 times/year. De-worming is based on what we get back.
  • When we think there are issues going on
  • Haven't done, would like to -not available where I live
  • I've done a couple of times in the past 8 years, but have an unchanging herd
  • every 2 months
  • Do not know how to do fecal egg count - vet too expensive
  • If there are issues where general worming does not seem to be working.
  • If my horses were then or I had more than 2, I would do fecal testing to help with medicine resistan
  • I worm them anyway. Fecal counts are not always reliable.
  • Every three months and worm only when over 200.
  • every 4 months
  • every 4 months
  • Every two months or sooner for horses with high counts or after deworming. I do the tests myself.
  • At every worming period - if count is zero, then I don't use wormer.
  • twice a year
  • I check annually and when a newbie comes to the barn they are checked also.
  • Just sent one recently for the first time!
  • monthly--I paid $130 this year to be part of a vet sponsored worming program. No worms so far.
  • recently, every 8 weeks on my older horse
  • grab sample during different horses during the year and new arrivals
  • quarterly
  • around 3 times x year
  • Whenever our vet tech daughter has time to do this for us--
  • My vet doesn't even know whether his lab can do one! Huh!
  • research
  • Occasionally/Rarely.
  • I did this once on one horse to see what the result was and it was nearly zero
  • annually and follow up if egg counts are high.
  • all new arrivals and young stock once a month all others every two months.
  • twice year
  • I do my own egg counts as often as I want,sometimes weekly
  • Our vet was surprised how the deworming did not last. We had to shorten intervals between deworming
  • but i do think it makes sense, just havn't done it
  • every 6 months - to see if worming is necessary
  • per vet
  • Did it for a couple of years. Vet felt not valid...
  • I do my own FEC's. I start at about 8 weeks post-trt & continue weekly until the horses become pos
  • Once a month. Use appropriate dewormer if FEC is positive.
  • the vet comes twice a year for vacs and checks egg count, also
  • our vet has never suggested it
  • whenever my horse is showing signs that may indicate a problem
  • Before and 14 days after a dewormer to test that product's effectiveness on the worms in a pasture
  • Usually prior to target dewormer
  • I don't even know what fecal egg count exams are
  • Since I don't worm, I annually test to see if I need to. 2 times a year
  • 2 x a year
  • Actually 2 times a year, from different mares on my farm. Lately non have had worms.
  • When dewormer is $3 and testing is $12..and I may still need to deworm...this adds up.
  • 4 time per year
  • only if suspect
  • Unless there is a free service for this, I can't afford to do it.
  • Do fecal counts twice a year
  • If I thought I had a problem, I'd consult my vet. Rural access restricts frequency of this test.
  • its a waste of time as most samples are not handled properly
  • every 4 months for all 3 horses in my barn; will deworm if FEC above 200
  • Before using any dewormers
  • Usually, every three months to see if & what we need to use in our deworming program
  • according to symptoms
  • Never, I just worm regularly
  • prior to worming and 3 wks post worming
  • 30 horses, therefore too expensive and time consuming.
  • every 3 months
  • I have only used it for one horse, acting lethargic, but plan to get it done for all 11 horses SOON
  • deworm 6x per year
  • We've never done one, nor has our vet recommended it.
  • typically twice yearly
  • unless it looks like I have a problem and then as directed by my vet.
  • I do my own counts, based on age of horse--more when younger.
  • Spring and Fall
  • twice a year
  • I test 1 of my 3 horses before each worming time to know what to treat for it's only $15.
  • I am trying to get my barn owner to do them, but she won't (she could do them herself)
  • once a year
  • On a regular basis normally at least once every 3 months
  • As a vet, none of my clients utilize this. All deworm independant of my advice.
  • Annually on all four then rechecks for anyone who wasn't where they should be.
  • New arrivals and in lieu of dewromer in low-risk months
  • Minimum once per year. If positive I keep doing fecals until I get 2 clear. Then recheck in 3-6 mos.
  • Q 180 days. I am a veterinarian.
  • Twice a year
  • 2x / year or more often if I suspect infestation. I do not deworm without a fecal count first.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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