Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify tapeworm infection in horses in the UK


Background: Anthelmintic resistance combined with limited chemotherapeutic options has prompted a change in approaches to control of equine helminth infections. Targeted selective treatment strategies use diagnostics to reduce anthelmintic use by treating individuals with worm burdens or egg shedding levels above a set threshold. While faecal egg count analysis has limitations for informing tapeworm treatment, a commercially available saliva-based diagnostic test accurately diagnoses horses with tapeworm infection. Objectives: Evaluation of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify horses naturally infected with tapeworm and assess the impact of using the test to inform anthelmintic administration. Study design: Retrospective longitudinal study. Methods: Saliva was collected from horses (n = 237) at a UK welfare charity from autumn 2015 to autumn 2016. Horses diagnosed as positive for tapeworm infection using the EquiSal® Tapeworm test were anthelmintic treated according to weight. The number of horses that received anthelmintic treatment based on the test result was compared with an all-group treatment approach and the reduction in anthelmintic usage calculated. Incoming horses were also tested (n = 143) and the information was used to inform quarantine treatments. Results: In autumn 2015, 85% of 237 horses tested received no anthelmintic and the majority (71%) of these remained below the treatment threshold throughout the study. Of the 69 horses that received treatment, seven required treatment following three subsequent tests, while >50% of horses administered with anthelmintic fell below the treatment threshold at the following test. No increase in tapeworm prevalence within the 237 horses was observed during the study despite a substantial reduction in the application of antitapeworm treatments. A total of 41% of incoming horses required anticestode treatment. Main limitations: Other management practices were not included in the analysis. Conclusions: Compared with an all-group treatment strategy, the diagnostic-led approach used here considerably reduced application of anticestode anthelmintics. This could reduce selection pressure for anthelmintic resistance.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Biosciences
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
College of Health & Life Sciences > Cell & Tissue Biomedical Research
Additional Information: © 2017 EVJ Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify tapeworm infection in horses in the UK , which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anoplocephala,Cestodes,EquiSal,Horse,Targeted selective treatment,Equine
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://beva.on ... .1111/evj.12742 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-02-02
Published Online Date: 2017-08-14
Accepted Date: 2017-08-06
Authors: Lightbody, K. L.
Matthews, J. B.
Kemp-Symonds, J. G.
Lambert, P. A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8243-2741)
Austin, C. J.



Version: Accepted Version

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