Austin Davis Biologics (ADB) will be launching a new blood test service for diagnosing small redworm (cyathostomin) infections in horses, in September.

The company says the new test overcomes a major shortcoming in faecal egg counts: that they can only detect the presence of egg-laying adult worms. The new test, by contrast, can detect all stages of the small redworm life cycle, including the important encysted larval phase.

ADB says the new test will help protect the effectiveness of moxidectin, the only dewormer which is capable of eliminating the encysted stages and against which widespread resistance is not thought to have developed.

Whereas before, routine winter treatment was needed to target the encysted phase, this new test means the drug can be kept for when it is really needed, which will help prevent the development of resistance. ADB says it will also be of great value to equine vets in making differential diagnoses. 

The blood test was developed by Prof Jacqui Matthews’ group at the Moredun Research Institute (MRI), with funding from The Horse Trust. She 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."

Dr Corrine Austin from ADB said: "ADB is 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."

Veterinary practices can contact ADB at to register interest in the diagnostic test service. 

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