Equine laboratories and diagnostics play a crucial role in maintaining the health and well-being of horses. These facilities provide a wide range of services, including:
- Clinical pathology: This involves examining blood, urine, and other bodily fluids to assess the health of the horse's internal organs.
- Hematology: This focuses on the study of blood cells, including their number, size, and shape. It can help diagnose a variety of conditions, such as anemia, infection, and leukemia.
- Clinical chemistry: This involves measuring the levels of various chemicals in the blood, such as enzymes, electrolytes, and hormones. It can help diagnose a variety of metabolic disorders, such as kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
- Serology: This involves testing the blood for antibodies, which are proteins produced by the immune system to fight off infection. It can help diagnose a variety of infectious diseases, such as equine influenza, equine herpesvirus, and West Nile virus.
- Parasitology: This involves examining fecal samples to identify parasites. It can help diagnose a variety of parasitic infections, such as strongylosis, bots, and tapeworms.
- Microbiology: This involves culturing bacteria and fungi from samples of blood, urine, or other bodily fluids. It can help diagnose a variety of infections, such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin infections.
- Molecular diagnostics: This involves using DNA or RNA testing to diagnose diseases. It can be used to diagnose a variety of genetic disorders, as well as some infectious diseases.
In addition to these routine diagnostic services, equine laboratories and diagnostics also offer a variety of specialized tests, such as:
- Drug testing: This can be used to detect the presence of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs in horses.
- Nutritional testing: This can be used to assess the horse's nutritional status and identify any deficiencies.
- Reproductive testing: This can be used to assess the horse's fertility and identify any abnormalities.
- Genetic testing: This can be used to identify the horse's breed, as well as to test for genetic disorders.
Equine laboratories and diagnostics are an essential part of the equine healthcare system. They provide the information that veterinarians need to diagnose and treat diseases, and they help to ensure the health and well-being of horses worldwide.
Laboratories & Diagnostics
Accuracy of Testing
Recently one of Horsemen’s Laboratory clients asked about the accuracy of our testing methods. Horsemen’s Laboratory was established in 1992 and since then we have done over 46,000 samples. Over the years we have sent samples to the University Of Illinois School Of Veterinary Medicine Department Of Parasitology and to East Tennessee Clinical Research, Inc., a very competent laboratory that does extensive testing and research in the field of parasitology, owned by Craig R. Reinemeyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVM. The results found at all three laboratories were very comparable; placing each horse in the same category as far as egg shedding was concerned.
Why should you do Fecal Egg Counts on your Horse?
How do you know my horse has worms? How do you know you got rid of the worms my horse had? These two questions were commonly asked when I dewormed horses as a general equine veterinarian. My standard response was that the drug companies tell us they work.
When the daily dewormers came on the market many of my clients requested that I get these dewormers for their horses. I often told them I thought it was unnecessary because most of the horses were already being dewormed every 2 months. In addition, 90% of the horses I cared for in southern California were kept in clean box stalls 22 hours a day except when they were being ridden or exercised. I did not see how these horses could have many worms, if any at all. Therefore, I decided to seek the answers to these common questions for myself by doing fecal egg counts before I dewormed my horses.
What I found was that less than 1 out of 20 horses had any eggs in the stool sample to indicate they were infected with adult worms. After consulting with several experts in equine parasitology and recognizing that no one was performing routine fecal egg counts for horse owners, I started Horsemen’s Laboratory to fill this void. I felt owners should have the opportunity to know whether or not their horses had worms rather than just treating them blindly.
The Resistance – Equine Parasites Rise Up
by Doug Thal DVM DABVP
Equine parasites are becoming resistant to our de-worming compounds. This blog post addresses why this is a HUGE CONCERN not only for your horse, but for the entire horse industry.
Recently I had to euthanize a world-class 4-year-old Quarter Horse mare, a real tragedy. She had badly damaged intestines, and after 2 colic operations, we decided to put her down. Her problems were partly brought on by a severe infestation of large roundworms (Ascarids). This type of parasite is common in young horses but VERY rare in adults. My first thought when I saw all the large adult parasites at surgery was “Why isn’t this mare being de-wormed?” When I asked the trainer about her parasite control program though, she said she had been wormed every 5 weeks!
While this mare probably had a very rare “immune tolerance” to these parasites, what was most alarming was that the parasites were able to survive in the face of repeated dousing in de-worming chemicals. These worms were resistant to the de-wormers being used!