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EquiSal Tapeworm Saliva Testing Kit for Horses

  • Single Test Kit £22.55


Please note: Due to packaging regulations regarding samples, we can only supply Equisal Kits within the UK. If you are from outside the UK please contact the manufacturer directly.

The EquiSal Tapeworm Saliva Testing Kit enables horse owners to simply and easily collect a saliva specimen from their horse which is posted free of charge to Austin Davis Biologics Ltd to diagnose the presence of tapeworm.

You should WAIT at least 4 months since you last wormed for tapeworm before carrying out the tapeworm saliva test.

Ensure your horse has not eaten ANYTHING or exercised for 30 minutes prior to taking the saliva sample - otherwise your test result could be invalid.

Tapeworms are a common cause of serious colic so require control. Unfortunately, routine worming strategies can cause worms to build up resistance to survive the worming. To help ensure wormers stay effective in the future, using the EquiSal Tapeworm Test lets you know whether a wormer is needed.

A suitable worm control programme should include regular worm egg counts, together with twice-a-year testing for tapeworm – using the EquiSal Tapeworm Test. It is also important to bear in mind that, as there is currently no test for encysted redworm, routine worming for this worm should be carried out during the winter months.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many horses have a tapeworm burden?

Austin Davis Biologics (ADB) have gathered local epidemiology information (the distribution of tapeworm burdens local to the ADB laboratory) to give an insight into this question. During the research to develop the EquiSal Tapeworm Test, ADB tested horses local to our laboratory with the help of Swanspool Equine Vets. Of all the horses tested, only 12% of them carried a tapeworm burden that demanded treatment! This finding suggests that the majority of these horses (88%) were receiving routine tapeworm treatment when they did not need it. Most of the horses we tested were on yards with good field management and using faecal egg counts for well-planned targeted worming protocols. ADB will be continuously updating these figures as they start to run the testing service.

How long after worming can we test?

Because of the way the horse’s immune system works, the salivary tapeworm-specific antibody levels will reduce over time after a tapeworm burden is treated. ADB recommend that a horse has not been wormed for 4 months before testing with the EquiSal Tapeworm Test. This is similar to faecal egg counts, where, for example, you should not carry out a faecal egg count within 13 weeks of worming with Equest. With faecal egg counts, if there is a worm burden, you can carry out a faecal egg count reduction test to check whether the worming has been effective. ADB's early research indicates that salivary tapeworm-specific antibody levels are very low 2-3 months after worming, therefore re-testing at this time would confirm whether the worming strategy was successful. Profiles from various horses show reduction of salivary tapeworm-specific antibody levels quite soon after worming, so it may be possible in the future to determine relatively quickly if the wormer is working or if there is resistance or under-dosing.

How often should we do the EquiSal Tapeworm Test?

We recommend that you test your horse twice a year for tapeworm. The best time to test for tapeworm is late winter/early spring and autumn/early winter. These are considered to be the ideal time of year to worm for tapeworm.

My horse has swallowed the saliva swab, will it be alright?

The swab has a rounded, short design for easy passage through the intestine. In addition, a break point is present in the handle which will ensure the swab breaks into two safe pieces. Equine vets have been consulted and they have advised that the risk of swallowed swabs causing choke or obstruction is low. The two pieces can be expected to pass through without incident. If you feel concerned, you should contact your veterinary practice for advice.

I have spilt the preservative solution from the saliva swab storage tube, what should I do?

This is not ideal, but if you send the saliva swab back in the saliva swab storage tube ADB can attempt to carry out the test. Do not add anything else to the saliva swab storage tube as this will result in unreliable diagnosis.

I have dropped the swab on the floor what should I do?

Providing the swab is not dirty, you can continue your saliva collection, but please inform ADB of the incident on the delivery note.

My horse has eaten a small amount of food/hay/grass within the half hour before the saliva collection. Will this be OK?

No, it is critical that the horse must have eaten nothing at all. The test will not work if the horse is producing too much saliva. An excessive saliva flow will result in the need for a retest.

I have finished collecting saliva and the swab is covered with food bits/hay, does this matter?

It is perfectly OK for the swab to have food debris on it. You may want to pick off any large bits, but the presence of food/grass/hay does not affect the test results.

My horse’s mouth is very dry and I can’t collect enough saliva, what should I do?

If you have been trying to collect saliva for longer than 5 minutes, place the swab back in the foil packet and then try feeding your horse a few mouthfuls of hay, then wait for half an hour before trying to collect saliva again.

I have collected my horse’s saliva but I cannot post it immediately, what should I do?

We recommend that you place the saliva swab (in its storage tube) in a cool place until you are able to post it to ADB. DO NOT FREEZE.

Saliva stability has been rigorously tested to ensure that samples can be posted to the lab. Saliva is preserved with a specially designed solution which was developed in conjunction with a world leading diagnostic company specialising in saliva drug testing in humans. They manufacture the EquiSal kits for us. Horse saliva antibodies have been proven stable for at least 3 weeks in the preservative solution. So you can post your samples with confidence!

The instructions say I need to put a barcode label on the saliva swab storage tube. Why do I need to do this?

The barcode label is specific to each saliva sample and is used to track your horse’s saliva sample through the testing process. It is important to make sure the label is placed on the tube with no wrinkles and that it is not dirty. Remember to write the name of your horse on the saliva swab storage tube label.

I have ordered multiple kits for my horses, does it matter which label I use for each horse?

It doesn’t matter which label you use because the barcode will be linked to the horse name that you write on the saliva swab storage tube. You should write the name of the horse on each saliva swab storage tube so that we know which of your horses we are testing.

Need help or advice? Contact us:

  • Landline: 01582 842096
  • Freephone*: 0800 084 2608
  • Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 6:00pm
  • Sat: 9:00am - 1:00pm
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All prices include VAT where applicable. *The freephone number is free from most UK landlines only, mobiles are usually charged so we'd recommend calling our landline from your mobile or internationally.

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7th Apr 2015
Jacqui Bentley
  • VioVet Customer Since: November 2014
  • From: , United Kingdom

At what age should I do the saliva test, I have a yearling

Richard Spratley
  • Web Developer

6 months to a year old would be suitable for testing for tapeworm. Youngstock will start generating antibodies against tapeworm antigens as soon as they are challenged with tapeworm larvae so the test will work fine.