A study published in the Equine Veterinary Journal has concluded that a diagnostic-led approach to tapeworm treatment in horses, using a saliva-based test to identify infected horses, can considerably reduce the need for anticestode anthelmintics1.

Saliva was collected from 237 horses at the UK welfare charity, Bransby Horses, where EquiSal Tapeworm saliva testing was used to inform on anthelmintic administration over the course of a year. This diagnostic-led approach reduced the use of anti-tapeworm treatments by 86% compared to 6 monthly interval treatment strategies. 

Austin Davis Biologics Ltd, the maker of the EquiSal Tapeworm saliva test, says it accurately diagnoses horses with a tapeworm infection, providing a low, borderline or moderate/high diagnosis. 

Treatment is recommended for horses with a borderline or moderate/high result2.

In this latest study, the company says most horses diagnosed below the treatment threshold in the first saliva 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 saliva tests, suggesting that some horses are more susceptible to tapeworm infections. 

The EVJ has prepared a podcast summarising the study findings here: https://evj.podbean.com/e/evj-of-the-hoof-podcast-no-1-march-2018-use-of-saliva-based-diagnostic-test-to-identify-tapeworm-infection-in-horses-in-the-uk/.

The study authors have also prepared a video abstract which can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/254338616

EquiSal saliva collection kits are available at trade prices to veterinary practices and SQPs. Contact enquiries@equisal.com or visit www.equisal.com for more information. 


  1. Lightbody, K. L., Matthews, J. B., Kemp-Symonds, J. G., Lambert, P. A. and Austin, C. J. (2018), Use of a saliva-based diagnostic test to identify tapeworm infection in horses in the UK. Equine Vet J, 50: 213–219. 
  2. 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