CANTER: the new campaign to combat wormer resistance in UK horses
6th March 2023
NOAH is proud to be part of the new pan-industry group CANTER, the first of its kind worldwide, that 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.
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.
NOAH’s Chief Executive, Dawn Howard comments:
“Parasites such as worms present a real danger to the health and welfare of our equine population. Yet the threat of resistance to worming treatments by those parasites poses a challenge to our ability to protect horses from the suffering parasites can cause.
“NOAH believes passionately in the power of collaboration, working together to improve animal health and welfare through the responsible use of veterinary medicines. Groups such as the RUMA Alliance (Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture), SCOPS (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep) and COWS (Control of Worms Sustainably) have paved the way in how, through responsible use, we can help ensure veterinary medicines remain effective for years to come. We have recently also become a part of RUMA Companion Animal and Equine, which will build upon the success of its sister organisation.
“CANTER is a fantastic new initiative providing a single resource on antiparasitic use for everyone who owns or cares for horses and other equines. We represent the animal health industry, and we are proud to be involved.”
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.”
For more information about CANTER and to download the free parasite risk profile visit www.canterforhorses.org.uk.
Notes for Editors
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