Targeting Tapeworm Treatment Using EquiSal® Tapeworm Saliva Testing: Research Study Published by Equine Veterinary Journal

A worm control programme using the EquiSal® Tapeworm saliva test has been proven to control tapeworm infections and reduce the use of tapeworm dewormers at Bransby Horses, a horse welfare charity in the UK. The study, recently published in Equine Veterinary Journal, reports the findings from 237 horses tested with EquiSal® Tapeworm over the course of a year1. Testing with EquiSal® Tapeworm reduced the use of tapeworm dewormers by 86% compared to 6 monthly routine deworming 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 result2. In this latest study, most horses diagnosed with a tapeworm infection in the first EquiSal® Tapeworm test reduced to low in the following two tests and 168 horses (71%) remained low throughout the study and didn’t require deworming for tapeworm. Importantly, the number of horses with a tapeworm infection did not increase during the study period despite the reduced amount of dewormer being administered to the herds –around 15% of horses needed deworming at each testing. Only seven horses needed treatment after all three EquiSal® Tapeworm tests, suggesting that some horses are more susceptible to tapeworm infections.

The patterns of infection and reinfection seen during the study highlight how important it is to regularly test with EquiSal® Tapeworm. Testing every six months will identify horses with new infections and allow deworming at an early stage. This approach limits the number of eggs contaminating paddocks and reduces exposure of other horses, as well as identifying horses which are more prone to infection. By incorporating EquiSal® Tapeworm testing into deworming schedules, the frequency of tapeworm treatments are reduced which will, in turn, reduce the risk of tapeworm resistance in the future.

It is easy to integrate EquiSal® Tapeworm testing into worm control programmes – 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 colour change, the swab is placed in the preservative solution and returned to the EquiSal® testing laboratory using the freepost envelope.

Contact or visit for more information, order kits online or see a list of stockists.

Bransby Horses is at the forefront of horse management ensuring that, whenever possible, testing is carried out before resorting to the use of drugs. Visit to find out more about the horse welfare charity.

1Lightbody, 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

2Lightbody, 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 335-346


Austin Davis Biologics Ltd is a family-run diagnostic and life sciences business which 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.