Novel Equine Faecal Egg DiagnosticsValidation of the FECPAKG2

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Abstract

Faecal egg counts (FECs) are the standard method of diagnosing the level of parasitic helminth egg shedding in horses and other grazing animals. Testing before treatment is an important factor in slowing the appearance of anthelmintic resistance in nematode parasites. The FECPAKG2, optimised for livestock, is reported to allow owners to perform FECs on their own animals without the need for a separate microscope or any specialist knowledge by tapping into remote expertise. However, the performance of the FECPAKG2 has yet to be assessed for equids. Therefore, a comparison of the FECPAKG2 (G2) method with an accepted equine FEC method (FECPAKG1(G1)) was performed, using faecal samples from 57 horses in Wales and 22 horses in New Zealand. There was a significant correlation between the FECs obtained by the two methods (p < 0.001) and no effect of the country of origin on the data (p = 0.157). The mean percentage accuracy compared to the control values (mean G2 count as a percentage of the mean G1 count, ±SStandard Error (SE)) was 101 ± 4%. There was no significant interaction between the method applied and the country of origin of the data (p = 0.814). The relative accuracy of the G2 method compared to the control method (FECPAKG1) was not affected by the level of infection (p = 0.124) and it was concluded that the FECPAKG2 method is a suitable method of performing FECs in horses. It is anticipated that the user-friendliness of the method will increase the uptake of FECs amongst horse owners, either by the direct use of the technology or through their veterinary practice, likely slowing the development of anthelmintic resistance.

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