FECPAKG2 validated as effective and user-friendly method to measure parasites in horses

September 2020 

Dunedin NZ: UK research has concluded FECPAKG2 is a reliable tool for performing faecal egg counts in horses, with further Australian-based work by the University of Melbourne now planned to further investigate the potential the platform has to slow the development of parasite resistance in the equine industry.

FECPAKG2 is an easy-to-use diagnostic platform which counts parasite eggs (WEC) in livestock, including horses and provides an end-to-end service platform from sample preparation through to results and data analysis. Samples can be processed on-farm or in-clinic, with results delivered quickly via email and stored securely online for easy viewing and sharing.

Undertaken by Fiona Tyson, the peer-reviewed, academic study ‘Novel Equine Faecal Egg Diagnostics: Validation of the FECPAKG2 ‘ was published in July 2020 and concluded:

“It is anticipated that the user-friendliness of the method will increase the uptake of FECs amongst horse owners by the direct use of the technology or through their veterinary practice, likely slowing the development of anthelmintic resistance.”

Techion founder and CEO Greg Mirams welcomed the research and said it was encouraging to see the FECPAKG2 platform validated for horses in a peer-reviewed paper. The platform is also available for testing sheep, cattle, goats and alpacas.

“The UK research has clearly shown the potential for the use of our technology in the equine industry and we will now tailor further investigation to the Australian market through our distribution partner, Dawbuts, and a collaboration with the University of Melbourne to undertake a significant, Australian-focused research project for horses,” Mr Mirams said

“The proposed project will validate the opportunity to access aggregated parasite data from across Australia and will also explore additional novel diagnostic tools to assist parasite management and the detection and management of drench resistance. Furthermore, it plans to establish an Australian-wide parasite diagnostic infrastructure using the FECPAKG2 platform to connect horse owners and trainers with veterinarians and researchers from across Australia.”

Dawbuts CEO, Dr Matt Playford said the new project would build on preliminary work already completed.

We have already conducted validation studies on FECPAKG2 in Australia, some of which was supported by Meat and Livestock Australia,” Mr Playford said.

“As in the UK equine trials, we have found FECPAKG2 to be a rapid and reliable method for conducting worm egg counts at the point of care and look forward to collaborating with the team at the University of Melbourne on this next stage to bring better worm control and health to the Australian equine sector.

“Melbourne University Associate Professor ,Abdul Jabbar, the chair of the Australian Equine Parasitology Advisory Panel, has worked with FECPAKG2 previously on another project and is delighted to see the potential use of FECPAKG2 in the sustainable control of horse parasites.”

The FECPAKG2 platform supports equine veterinary practices by enabling the aggregation of data from animals at multiple locations within a state or region to give fast, early identification of disease pressure. This data will allow vets, owners and trainers to work ‘ahead of the curve’ controlling parasite disease burdens in horses supporting positive performance and animal welfare outcomes.

Mr Mirams developed the original FECPAK to perform parasite tests in sheep in 1992. Since then he, and his New Zealand-based team, have embraced technology and extended the platform to perform faecal egg counts in horses, cattle, goats and alpacas. The technology is also being trialled for human health diagnostics, its point of care (POC) imaging capability delivered via FECPAKG2 and linked to the cloud database could enable live, reliable diagnostic data across a range of diseases. 

Techion is further developing its ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) technology, which will enable it to count parasite eggs and provide test results in real-time. Mr Mirams believes live data is the heart of diagnosis as it will feed modelling in real-time, enabling better decision making and animal health.