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Vet Clin Pathol. 2016 Jun;45(2):335-46. doi: 10.1111/vcp.12364. Epub 2016 May 24.

Validation of a novel saliva-based ELISA test for diagnosing tapeworm burden in horses.

Author information

1
Austin Davis Biologics, Great Addington, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Tapeworm infections pose a significant threat to equine health as they are associated with clinical cases of colic. Diagnosis of tapeworm burden using fecal egg counts (FECs) is unreliable, and, although a commercial serologic ELISA for anti-tapeworm antibodies is available, it requires a veterinarian to collect the blood sample. A reliable diagnostic test using an owner-accessible sample such as saliva could provide a cost-effective alternative for tapeworm testing in horses, and allow targeted deworming strategies.

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of the study was to statistically validate a saliva tapeworm ELISA test and compare to a tapeworm-specific IgG(T) serologic ELISA.

METHODS:

Serum samples (139) and matched saliva samples (104) were collected from horses at a UK abattoir. The ileocecal junction and cecum were visually examined for tapeworms and any present were counted. Samples were analyzed using a serologic ELISA and the saliva tapeworm test. The test results were compared to tapeworm numbers and the various data sets were statistically analyzed.

RESULTS:

Saliva scores had strong positive correlations with both infection intensity (0.74) and serologic results (Spearman's rank coefficients; 0.74 and 0.86, respectively). The saliva tapeworm test was capable of identifying the presence of one or more tapeworms with 83% sensitivity and 85% specificity. Importantly, no high-burden (more than 20 tapeworms) horses were misdiagnosed.

CONCLUSIONS:

The saliva tapeworm test has statistical accuracy for detecting tapeworm burdens in horses with 83% sensitivity and 85% specificity, similar to those of the serologic ELISA (85% and 78%, respectively).

KEYWORDS:

Anoplocephala; EquiSal; cestodes; equine

PMID:
27218436
DOI:
10.1111/vcp.12364
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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