15th March 2023

CANTER: a new pan-industry group to combat wormer resistance in UK equines

CANTER (Controlling ANTiparasitic resistance in Equines Responsibly) brings together voluntary representation from the widest reaches of the equine sector. This includes leading experts in the field across prescribers, diagnostics 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 its development and maintain the effectiveness of our current anthelmintics.

Formation of the group has been spearheaded by Dr Claire Stratford, Principal Veterinary Advisor at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and Chair of the CANTER Core Steering Group. Historically, there has been no equine equivalent to the livestock pan-industry groups, COWS and SCOPS, to facilitate a coordinated approach to parasite control. CANTER hopes to achieve similar reach and engagement regarding sustainable control of parasites in equines as COWS and SCOPS have achieved in sheep and cattle. CANTER looks forward to working with COWS and SCOPS in the future on cross-sector issues related to antiparasitic resistance and responsible use.

Dr Claire Stratford 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 to 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.”

CANTER is prioritising four strands of activity: to publish best practice guidelines for all prescriber groups to provide evidence-based recommendations on sustainable strategies for parasite control in equines; to publish faecal egg count guidance to promote effective use and optimise methods; to identify research gaps and collaboration opportunities; and to develop a communication strategy 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 officially launched CANTER in a presentation on the Skills Stage at The National Equine Show, 4 March 2023, Birmingham. 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.

To support the launch and call to action, CANTER has developed a free risk profiling resource for horse owners and prescribers. 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, and 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.

For more information about CANTER and to download the free parasite risk profile please visit www.canterforhorses.org.uk

Photo caption:
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.