Diagnostics provider Idexx Laboratories has produced the first handheld in-clinic test for lungworm.

Diagnostics provider Idexx Laboratories has produced the first handheld in-clinic test for lungworm.

Idexx's new Angio Detect TestThe company’s Angio Detect Test works by detecting Angiostrongylus vasorum-specific antigens in a dog’s blood, and the test can return results within 15 minutes. It can be used with either a serum or plasma sample.

Previously, clinicians relied on the Baermann method to detect the nematode, which requires faecal samples from the same dog being collected on three successive days, but results can be compromised by the intermittent shedding of larvae.   

Vet Graham Bilbrough is Idexx’s European medical affairs manager.

He said: “Until now, testing methods have been time consuming to the client and costly, so the launch of the Angio Detect test, together with recognition of clinical signs and early treatment will really help to prevent A vasorum-related fatalities in dogs.

“We also know some dogs have subclinical Angio, and this new test will help uncover this hidden problem before the surgical blade makes a cut. Difficulties in diagnosis have also meant that the full prevalence of A vasorum in the UK has been relatively unknown. This test will allow veterinary surgeons to quickly identify the parasite and treat it if found.”

The Angio Detect Test is especially timely, as many experts have raised concerns about the spread of lungworm across the UK, and a survey by Bayer Animal Health of 150 practices found 952 suspected cases (157 laboratory confirmed), with 81 deaths thought to have been caused by the parasite.

Ian Wright, from the European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites, believes lungworm is “a truly emergent disease”.

“Although the cause of this spread is not known for certain, increasing slug and snail numbers combined with increased pet movement and urbanisation of foxes are all likely to have played a significant part,” he said.

Home page image courtesy of Bayer Animal Health 
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