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ELISA Tapeworm Antibody Test

This test has been developed by the University of Liverpool to detect horses that are carrying a tapeworm burden.

This test can save the life of your horse

How does it work?

Why would I use it?

Does it tell me exactly how many tapeworm my horse has?

Case Studies


How does it work?

Your vet will take a blood / serum sample from your horse and send it to the University of Liverpool for the test.  The levels of antibody to a specific tapeworm antigen are measured.

Horses with elevated levels of antigen have significant tapeworm burdens.  The level of antigen gives an indication of the size of the infestation.

The test results are reported as either LOW / MEDIUM or HIGH.


Why would I use it?

Investigation of either an acute colic attack or recurring mild colic.

If your horse has a colic attack caused by tapeworm that is not identified as such, then the problem gets worse.  The colic attacks will gradually increase in frequency and severity and could prove fatal if the tapeworm burden is not identified and treated.

Identify whether your horse has tapeworm and needs a tapeworm wormer.

Most horse owners include a tapeworm treatment either once or twice a year.  The ELISA test can identify those horses with a tapeworm burden so that they can be treated.  All other horses do not need to be given chemicals for a condition that they do not have.

Identify whether a new horse has tapeworm.

If a new horse is introduced into a group that already knows that it is clear from tapeworm then the horse should be tested on arrival.


Does it tell me exactly how many tapeworm my horse has?

It will detect the level of tapeworm infestation, either HIGH / MEDIUM / LOW.  It may report a horse with a very low level of parasite as clear if the infestation is so low the horse has not produced antibodies against it.


Case Studies

[1] The ELISA  test has been used in research to show that horses with high levels of tapeworm infection are more than 20 times likely to suffer colic from impaction.  The only way to correct this colic is by surgery.  The risk of colic increases with the level of tapeworm burden.

[2] Wormers Direct have horses that have suffered from a mild colic attack after certain wormers for a number of years.  Some of the owners stopped giving the horse the wormer concerned.  These horses were subsequently tested using the ELISA test and found to have tapeworm.  The consultants, in conjunction with the owners vets and Liverpool University commenced targeted chemical treatments and eventually the colic stopped occurring.

WARNING :  If your horse suffers from colic after giving tapeworm treatment then this is an indication that he could have tapeworm.  DO NOT stop giving tapeworm treatments.  Consult your vet and arrange for an ELISA test.  It could save the life of your horse.