A new blood test to diagnose small redworm infections in horses will launch this autumn.
Developed at the Moredun Research Institute, the test detects all stages of the small redworm (cyathostomin) cycle including the encysted larval phase.
Small redworms are the most common gastrointestinal parasites to infect horses, and clinical symptoms include diarrhoea and colic, which can be fatal.
Until now it has not been possible to test for encysted small redworm, as faecal egg counts only detect the presence of egg-laying adult worms, meaning a routine winter treatment to target this life cycle phase has become standard practice.
Although a wormer is available to eliminate the encysted stages of the redworm life cycle, targeted treatment programmes are required to ensure the drug is only administered when it is really needed.
The new blood test’s developers say the commercial availability of a diagnostic test to detect all stages of small redworm will enable equine vets to make a differential diagnosis and informed treatment decisions.
Professor Jacqui Matthews, from the Moredun said: “The test fills an important gap in our diagnostic toolbox and will enable horse owners to work with their veterinarians in targeting anthelmintic treatments against cyathostomin infections and hence help protect these important medicines for the future.”
Dr Corrine Austin from Austin David Biologics, which is launching the test, said: “ADB are now developing laboratory Elisa kits to enable independent veterinary laboratories to conduct blood testing; these kits are expected to reach market during 2020. Research into the saliva-based test is ongoing and is expected to be commercialised several years from now.”