Austin Davis Biologics has developed a new saliva test to diagnose tapeworm burdens in horses.
EquiSal Tapeworm was developed by a team of experienced scientists – one of whom was an inventor of the Clearblue pregnancy test.
The test measures tapeworm-specific antibodies in saliva and has been proven to have both high sensitivity and high specificity to determine whether a horse has a tapeworm burden.
If a horse is diagnosed with a borderline or moderate/high burden then tapeworm treatment is recommended.
A follow-up test after a few months to confirm the treatment has been effective would be beneficial and enable horse owners to feel more confident in their tapeworm control programmes.
According to the EquiSal team, it only makes sense to repeat the test if the salivary antibody levels drop quickly after effective tapeworm treatment.
In preparation for a full-scale trial, Austin Davis Biologics recently carried out a small trial in which EquiSal Tapeworm testing was carried out on horses every two weeks following worming treatment for tapeworm.
Data collected from this trial has shown, in most cases, substantial reduction in tapeworm-specific antibodies was seen within two to three weeks following treatment.
The researchers said it is important to understand the picture is complicated if the horse becomes reinfected by tapeworm larvae after worming treatment. Austin Davis Biologics is planning a larger trial for later this year.
EquiSal’s testing recommendations include:
- The first EquiSal test should be carried out four months after the last worming treatment for tapeworm.
- Routine testing should then be carried out every six months.
- If a horse has a borderline or moderate/high diagnosis, a retest can be carried out two to three months after worming treatment for tapeworm.