Targeting Tapeworm Treatment Using EquiSal Tapeworm Saliva Testing


A targeted treatment strategy using the EquiSal Tapeworm saliva test has been proven to control tapeworm infections and reduce the use of anti-tapeworm anthelmintics at Bransby Horses, a horse welfare charity in the UK. The study, recently published in Equine Veterinary Journal, reports findings from 237 horses where EquiSal Tapeworm testing was used to inform on anthelmintic administration over the course of a year. The EquiSal Tapeworm diagnostic led approach reduced the use of anti-tapeworm treatments by 86% compared to six monthly interval treatment strategies.

The scientifically validated EquiSal Tapeworm saliva test accurately diagnoses horses with a tapeworm infection, providing a low, borderline or moderate/high diagnosis and treatment is recommended for horses with a borderline or moderate/high result.

In this latest study, most horses diagnosed below the treatment threshold in the first EquiSal Tapeworm test remained below the threshold in the following two tests and 168 horses (71%) required no anti-tapeworm treatment at all. Importantly, no increase in tapeworm infection prevalence was observed during the study period and only seven horses received treatment following all three EquiSal Tapeworm tests, suggesting that some horses are more susceptible to tapeworm infections.

The patterns of infection and reinfection observed during the study highlight the value of regular monitoring with the EquiSal Tapeworm test. Six monthly testing will identify horses acquiring new tapeworm infections allowing treatment at an early stage, limiting paddock contamination and exposure of the rest of the herd, and will also identify those individuals which may be more prone to reinfection. Incorporation of EquiSal Tapeworm testing into deworming schedules will decrease the frequency of anti-tapeworm treatments and reduce the risk of resistance developing in tapeworms in the future.

It is easy to integrate EquiSal Tapeworm testing into worm control programs – simply test every six months at a time when routine deworming for tapeworm is considered. Saliva samples can be easily collected by horse owners using the specially designed swab provided in the EquiSal saliva collection kit. Once the swab has collected enough saliva, as indicated by a color change, the swab is placed in the preservative solution and sent for testing at the EquiSal laboratory.

Purchase EquiSal saliva collection kits from Horsemen’s Laboratory at

EquiSal saliva collection kits are available at wholesale prices contact [email protected] or visit

Lightbody, K. L., Matthews, J. B., Kemp-Symonds, J. G., Lambert, P. A. and Austin, C. J. (2017), Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to inform on tapeworm infection in horses in the UK. Equine Vet J. DOI: 10.1111/evj.12742

Lightbody, K.L, Davis, P.J. and Austin, C.J. (2016) Validation of a novel saliva-based ELISA test for diagnosing tapeworm burden in horses. Vet Clin Path 45, 335-346

Austin Davis Biologics LTD is a family-run diagnostic and life sciences business that provides the EquiSal Tapeworm testing service (launched in the UK in April 2014). EquiSal Tapeworm detects tapeworm-specific antibodies in horse saliva to provide a tapeworm burden diagnosis of low, borderline or moderate/high. The test has been fully validated and shown to be accurate using samples from horses examined post mortem where tapeworms were counted.

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