Anoplocephala Perfolata Tapeworm This is the most common species of tapeworm in the UK There is no documented resistance to any of the effective tapeworm wormers There is another species Anoplocephala Magna found in the small intestine, this is longer and much rarer than Anoplocephala Perfolata Tapeworms are asexual, each segment contains eggs The tapeworm lifecycle requires an intermediate host to complete its lifecycle, the harvest mite. The harvest mite ingests the tapeworm eggs in the dung from ruptured tapeworm segments. The mite then crawls around forage in the pasture and is ingested by the horse. The harvest mite is also present in hay and haylage and can be ingested this way. Once ingested the eggs hatch, the mite is digested and the immature tapeworm migrate to the junction between the large and small intestine. They hook on here until mature and then drop off to be excreted in the dung. The cycle then starts again. Par What do they look like? Cream segments 4-8cm in length What damage can they cause? There is a high correlation between high levels of tapeworm burden and spasmodic colic As seen in the picture inflammation to the junction between the large and small intestine with high burdens of tapeworm can cause impaction or intersusseption where a section of small intestine is pushed through the junction into the large intestine Animals with high tapeworm burdens can show outward signs such as lack of condition Monitoring tapeworm It is not possible to accurately monitor tapeworm using standard faecal egg counts A faecal test is available to check for the presence of tapeworm eggs, to give a positive or negative reading A blood test can be used to detect the level of tapeworm antibody the immune system is producing. If the antibody is present then tapeworm is present, or was present. The test gives a level of antibody to give an indication of the level of the burden. However the immune system has memory, so if there has been a tapeworm infection in the past then there will be tapeworm antibody present at a low level. This allows the immune system to quickly fight back by upping the level of tapeworm antibody should it come across the tapeworm antigen again in future. It also takes some time for the level of tapeworm antibody to decrease so if you tested straight after giving a tapeworm treatment and there had been tapeworm present the test would still come back positive. After any exposure to tapeworm it is likely the test will always come back low positive in the future, however if the level of antibody increased this would be an indicator of greater tapeworm presence. How Intelligent Worming deal with tapeworms? Intelligent Worming liaise with the leading veterinary parasitologists at the University of Liverpool to ensure every programme is based on the most up to date and current research. Each programme will have a minimum of an annual tapeworm treatment per year. In most programmes a second treatment is prescribed or recommended and the owner is given the option of whether they want the second treatment. The life cycle of the tapeworm is 6 months and so an annual treatment in low risk horses is endorsed by Prof Chris Proudman from the University of Liverpool. High risk animals or high risk conditions will lead to two tapeworm treatments scheduled per year We can have tapeworm faecal tapeworm tests to check for tapeworm presence If you wish to have a tapeworm ELISA blood test arranged through your vet we will work with the result Treating Tapeworm Tapeworm cannot be prevented, and the treatments for tapeworm have no longevity, therefore when you give a tapeworm treatment it is only effective on administration. Tapeworm treatment is recommended twice yearly, but can be given more frequently for horses who have been diagnosed with tapeworm or for horses where tapeworm has been present.