Monday, August 26, 2019

Blood test for small redworms

A new blood test for small redworms (cyathostomins) is due to be launched in the United Kingdom.

There is a welcome emphasis now on only deworming horses when they need it. This has become necessary because of the spread of anthelmintic-resistant parasites and the need to reduce the use of anthelmintics. 

Small redworms (cyathostomins)are the main culprits. Faecal worm egg counts can detect the presence of adult worms in the intestinal tract. But until now there has been no way of knowing whether a horse is carrying inhibited larvae in the gut wall. Consequently, routine treatment for larval stages during the winter has become the recommended tactic. However, this approach results in some horses being treated unnecessarily, risking stimulating anthelmintic resistance.

Scientists at the Moredun Research Institute in Scotland, led by Professor Jacqui Matthews, have been developing a blood test for larval cyathostomins. That work, largely funded by The Horse Trust, is now coming to fruition with a commercial version of the test due to be launched next month (September 2019) by Austin Davis Biologics (ADB).

The new test can detect all stages of small redworm infections, including, crucially, the encysted larval stage.

Dr Corrine Austin, of ADB said “We are thrilled to be making this test available to horse owners after extensive research has been conducted to achieve high accuracy.” 

Prof Matthews said: “It is great to see the commercialisation of this much-needed test to support sustainable worm control in horses.”

“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.”

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