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

K. L. Lightbody, J. B. Matthews, J. G. Kemp-Symonds, P. A. Lambert, C. J. Austin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Early online date14 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2017

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Bibliographical note

© 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 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/10.1111/evj.12742. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Keywords

  • Anoplocephala
  • Cestodes
  • EquiSal
  • Horse
  • Targeted selective treatment

Cite this

Lightbody, K. L., Matthews, J. B., Kemp-Symonds, J. G., Lambert, P. A., & Austin, C. J. (2017). Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify tapeworm infection in horses in the UK. Equine Veterinary Journal. https://doi.org/10.1111/evj.12742