A number of innovative businesses have been developed from research and consultancy at the University. Here, Chloe talks about her experiences as an undergraduate student running a business developed by Julia Webb …
In April I was lucky to have the opportunity to take on the small business that is Target Worm Counts, a mobile faecal egg counting service for horse owners. So yes, looking at horse poop! The use of faecal egg counts as part of a horse’s de-worming programme growing ever more popular amongst horse owners instead of the usual ‘blanket’ worming, which has been standard procedure in the horsey world for worm control for many, many years. As with antibiotic resistance that is occurring in the human world due to over usage of antibiotics, this resistance is also beginning to arise in worms to the de-wormers. This is an issue because there are currently no new de-wormers in the pipeline for the near future, meaning soon we may not be able to control the worm populations of horses, eek!
So what do I actually do?
I visit the clients directly at their yards so they don’t have to worry about sending samples in the post that may get lost etc. and research has shown that the temperature at which the samples are stored at can affect the results so by me going straight there and getting the samples as fresh as possible, this reduces the risk of alterations to the results due to storage at less than an optimum temperature. Bonus! I then carry out the analysis there onsite, using the McMaster Technique which is quick and easy. This then allows me to inform the owner as to whether or not their horse will require de-worming and with what drugs. As well as yard visits I do Tack Shop drop in sessions at 4 different venues and this is set to increase in September as all the horsey bods return to Uni in the Hartpury area.
With ‘Target’, the only way is up! I am currently looking into supplying a new Saliva Tapeworm Tst that has been developed that would allow me to offer testing for tapeworm as up until now, this has only been achieved by a blood test. Additional to this, I am looking into getting my ‘Suitably Qualified Person’ (SQP) status that would enable me to retail the actual de-wormers themselves, so I am planning on being able to offer package deals. Which is all very exciting! Faecal egg counting is also an up and coming area of research with more and more work being done to investigate various factors that can affect results etc. so I’m right in the thick of it! Additionally by working for myself, I can fit my appointments to suit me which is great as I can fit Target work around my studies.
I’m working on getting a proper domain for myself online but if you want to know more information, please feel free to check out the website! http://targetworms.wix.com/targetwormcounts
Chloe Dix, final year BSc Animal Biology student