AMTRA calls for more targeted equine worming approach
The Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority (AMTRA) says more should be done to highlight the benefits of a more strategic approach to equine worming, and has called for horse owners to seek specialist advice about the importance of testing.
The regulatory body will be doing more to support Registered Animal Medicines Advisors (RAMAs) in their role, highlighting to horse owners the importance of speaking to your RAMA for expert guidance, and providing RAMAs with additional resources to support them in delivering practical advice.
“While there are undoubtedly increased levels of awareness, too many horse owners are approaching worming incorrectly,” explains AMTRA Secretary General Stephen Dawson.
“Many are blanket dosing without knowing which worms they’re targeting, whether it is even necessary to worm, or if the treatment has been effective, so we are taking a closer look at the worming process, assisting RAMAs to explain more thoroughly how the process works, and encouraging better practice all round,” he adds.
Speak to your RAMA
The equine RAMAs’ role is to support horse owners and yard managers in putting together and carrying out a parasite control plan, yet many horse owners still see worming as one-off transaction, rather than a long-term strategy which takes the bigger picture into consideration, such as the age and health status of the horse.
“RAMAs are qualified professionals who are passionate about horse health. Their advice and knowledge is valuable and accessible – it’s also free!” says Mr Dawson.
“They are there to work with horse owners, and they want to make the process easier to understand and more effective, and reduce resistance challenges in the future. Visit your local retail premises and ask to speak to your equine RAMA – they will be more than happy to help.”
Faecal egg counting and why it is important will be high on the agenda for AMTRA, who will be working alongside other industry bodies to demonstrate the practical application and how to properly test. The initiative will also focus on long-term parasitic control plans and keeping records, demonstrating the importance of having a plan in place and a strong ongoing relationship with your animal medicines advisor.
AMTRA is one of many industry bodies, alongside vets, RAMAs, charities, policy makers, retailers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others, that make up the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) working group named ‘CANTER’ (Controlling ANTiparasitic resistance in Equines Responsibly).
In a meeting led by Clare Stratford, head of the efficacy team and anthelmintic policy lead at the VMD, the group’s first gathering under its new title took place in early August. The CANTER group will discuss and develop a strategy and a pan-industry approach to tackling the problem, with strong support from AMTRA
Training and resources
As an independent, not-for-profit organisation, AMTRA has a duty to support the work, training opportunities and understanding of all AMTRA RAMAs across all species, including equines, in order to meet industry demands.
At the beginning of the current CPD period, which began in July 2021, AMTRA took the decision to introduce, within the overall compulsory CPD obligation for farm animal RAMAs, a requirement to undertake particular CPD with a focus on parasite control in the context of anthelmintic resistance. It is now considering a similar policy for equine RAMAs.
“Understanding anthelmintic resistance and targeted worming practices, and how it impacts on choices in parasite control strategies, is a key part of the prescribing process,” continues Mr Dawson.
“It is therefore important that RAMAs are regularly improving and refreshing their knowledge about testing and correct treatment in order to pass this on to horse owners. We believe that compulsory CPD within the next two-year cycle may help to deliver this.”
The area of targeted and strategic worming will be a focus for AMTRA over the next twelve months and beyond, and the regulatory body will also be producing a number of resources, assets and infographics for RAMAs and their employers, for use online and in retail stores.