Health-check Your Honeybees For 3 Colony Killers

Health-check Your Honeybees For 3 Colony Killers

What beekeepers can do now to check if their honeybee hives risk three devastating diseases.

Honey bees are key to crop health making the vital contribution to pollination in crop production and in the natural environment.

Honey bee pollination is vital to food production and crop yield. DEFRA, The Welsh Government and Scottish Government estimate the economic benefit of honey bee pollination in the UK is estimated as £600m each year. In addition, the export value of UK natural honey was estimated £12.8 million in 2022.

Spot and Treat Viral Infections In Your Honeybees

Honeybee hives are constantly under threat from devastating infectious viruses. Unchecked, infection can go from drone to queen, queen to egg, nurse to larvae, and worker to worker.
Honeybee diseases may be high prevalence with many bees infected, high virulence with high levels of virus in individual bees or high pathogenicity where individual bees show lethal signs of disease.
There are few reliable and easy to use on-site tests for honeybee viral infections. The ‘gold standard’ polymerase chain reaction (PCR), useful even in colonies that do not show symptoms, is not a DIY option for the professional or hobbyist beekeeper.

Reliable, off the shelf and easy to use diagnostic test kits can give early warning of risks to hive health. Vetlab Supplies FASTest BEE 3T is the quick and easy three-in-one check for Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) and Sacbrood Virus (SBV) in the Honeybee.

Deformed Wing Virus (DWV)

New research from The Royal Society identifies DWV, spread through Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) infestation, as the main cause of overwintering colony death in honey bee hives. Though DWV has a global presence, where Varroa is absent or efficiently controlled there is little or no DWV infection.
Bees with shortened bodies and poorly developed or crippled-looking wings signal the presence of Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Other signs of DWV include bees moving erratically and heaps of dead bees ejected from the hive.

In spring and summer, infected bees may die far out of sight in the field. In winter, when bees cannot fly out, the colony may die off unseen in the hive. In both cases, DWV is most easily refuted or confirmed with the real world practicality of the FASTest BEE 3T diagnostic kit.

Once present in the hive, the virus can spread in sperm from drones, eggs from the queen and by feeding mites. Research indicates that mites reduce the disease resistance of bees and larvae which allows the virus to multiply out of control.

At present, There are no treatments that act directly on the Deformed Wing Virus itself. Even if the beekeeper treats the colony and kills almost all the parasites, that may not be enough get rid of the actual virus.
Breeding virus resistant bees may be the best approach to DWV eradication. Until then, watchfulness for mites and for early DWV symptoms, together with testing for the DWV virus, may be the most worthwhile means of safeguarding your hives.

Sacbrood Virus (SBV)

Sac Brood Virus (SBV) infects and kills developing larvae in the honeycomb. Infected larvae turn from healthy white to a sickly yellow before turning dark brown or black. Worker bees often open up SBV infected cells giving a dark patchy appearance to the honeycomb.
Exposed dead larvae shrivel into dark scale-like crescents sometimes referred to as ‘gondola shaped’ or ‘Chinese Slippers’. The dead larva resembles a tough fluid-filled plastic ‘sac’ that can be removed using a pair of tweezers.

Sacbrood is caused by the Iflavirus virus which multiplies in the developing larvae. When the brood cells are capped, the diseased larvae fail to pupate. A relatively common disease in the first half of the brood season, it might affect only a small proportion of cells without resulting in severe colony damage.
Once again, it is the Varroa destructor mite that can spread this virus when feeding off honeybee larvae. Unhygienic keeper transfer of infected material, as well as feeding by nurse bees and the intrusion of ‘robber bees’, may also spread Sacbrood.

Re-queening the colony can help to reduce the impact of sacbrood virus as will reducing and controlling Varroa mite infestation. Testing dead larvae with FASTest BEE 3T may be the most efficient means of testing for Sacbrood Virus.

Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV)

Lethally mediated by Varroa mite infestation, Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) kills adult bees, larvae and pupae. As with Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) the mite appears to suppress the infected bee’s immune response allowing the virus to multiply freely.

Heavily infected bees can spread ABPV not only to larvae in royal jelly and in pollen moistened with their saliva, but also in food shared with other adult bees. However, the principle means of infection is virus particles ‘injected’ directly into bodies of bees, larvae and pupae by feeding Varroa mites.
Varroa mites drive the rapid spread of Acute Bee Paralysis Virus throughout the hive. The virus can multiply so quickly and in so many mites that, when symptoms finally appear, it is already too late to save the hive.

Heavily infected bees show symptoms of tremor and paralysis. Many bees will die out in the field and dead larvae may be quickly removed by nurse bees. As a result, neither professional nor hobbyist beekeepers might notice the symptoms of ABPV before the entirely colony is destroyed.

Larvae that do survive become adult carriers, passing the virus to other larvae and, potentially, to many other hives. As with Deformed Wing and Sacbrood Virus, larvae and adult bees suspected of dying from Acute Bee Paralysis Virus can be most easily checked using the FASTest BEE 3T triple diagnostic test.

Business and Biosecurity Risks of Honeybee Diseases

Devastation of wild honeybees by pests and disease means that vital food crop pollination now depends heavily on commercial and hobbyist beekeepers and the health of their beehives and colonies.

Beekeepers can find more information and support from partner organisations including The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), Bee Farmers Association (BFA), The Welsh Beekeepers’ Association (WBKA), Northern Ireland Department of Rural Affairs (DAERA), The National Bee Unit (NBU) and The Beebase Healthy Bees Plan 2030.

For more information on the quick and easy three-in-one check for Deformed Wing Virus (DWV), Acute Bee Paralysis Virus (ABPV) and Sacbrood Virus (SBV) in your honeybee hives and colonies, click this link to FASTest BEE 3T.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or call Tel: 01798 874567

Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

Safe, Simple and Mess Free Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring For Alpacas and Llamas

As pets, companion animals, for commercial recreation or as a source of quality textiles, alpacas and llamas require constant monitoring for intestinal worms and parasites. StatSpin Ovatube® makes DIY faecal egg testing economical and practical for camelid owners and keepers.

Impact Of Intestinal Worms And Parasites On Camelid Herds

Veterinary research on alpacas suggests that around 90% of intestinal worms in an alpaca herd are produced by only 10% of the animals. So detecting which animals are infected is an efficient and cost effective approach to controlling the potential for wider parasite infestation.

Active intestinal parasite worms are difficult to detect because they are hidden inside an animal’s gut. Worm infections can be more easily diagnosed by microscopically examining an extract an animal’s faeces for the presence of parasite eggs, referred to by vets as oocysts or ovas.

Need For Clean, Convenient, Cost Effective ‘At-Home’ Parasite Egg Detection

In the past, lab based faecal parasite egg detection has relied on first mixing a small quantity of alpaca or llama faeces with either water or a ‘flotation solution’, and then microscopically searching a sample volume in a specialised glass slide counting chamber.

These methods are slow, messy, and relatively inaccurate, for most DIY at-home keepers of llamas and alpacas. Worse, they could miss detecting the oocysts causing the potentially deadly condition, coccidiosis, caused by the gut parasite, Eimeria macusensis.

Now For The Simple, Straightforward, On Site Parasite Egg Monitoring

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Worm Detection Technique gives alpaca and llama keepers a worm egg monitoring test that’s not only quicker, cleaner and cost effective, it’s also more convenient than sending samples to off-site veterinary laboratories and then waiting for test results.

With Statspin Ovatube®, faecal parasite oocyst & ova detection is easily and accurately performed. A small sample of the animal’s faeces is first collected with the tool supplied with the Statspin kit. The sample is then mixed in the Ovatube with the special ‘flotation solution’.

A few minutes standing in the Ovatube Rack, and faecal debris will sink to the bottom of the Ovatube while the oocysts & ova float to the surface for collection and counting by examination under a laboratory microscope.

Alternatively, the Ovatube can be spun at low speed in a veterinary laboratory centrifuge in order to enhance oocyst recovery. However this requires a centrifuge specially adapted to hold 15ml tubes. In the experience of Vetlab’s experts, this centrifugation step entails significant extra cost and is not strictly necessary.

All this makes StatSpin OvaTube® the simple, centrifuge-free, parasite egg monitoring test that’s easy enough for the DIY camelid keeper to perform without the mess, and with little specialised equipment other than an economically priced microscope of the type readily available from Vetlab.

Statspin Ovatube: The Simple 4-Step Parasite Egg Detection Test

For keepers of alpacas and llamas, and for other animal care facilities where intestinal health is a priority, The Statspin Ovatube® Method provides for simple at-home, all-in-one, sampling, debris removal and parasite egg detection.

Follow The Simple, 4-Step, Mess Free Ovatube Test

1. Push the Ovatube sampling tool into a sample of faeces to collect around 1 gram of material.
2. Plunge the sample into the Ovatube, filled with approximately 15ml of floatation solution (specific gravity 1.27), and mix thoroughly to release any parasite eggs.
3. Insert the supplied filter tool into the Ovatube with a twisting motion to drive any large particles of organic material to the bottom of the Ovatube.
4. Place the Ovatube in the Staspin Rack and leave it to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Finally, further twist the filter to raise the oocysts, floating on the solution, level with the top of the tube.
To recover and count any parasite eggs, place a microscope cover slip over the mouth of the Ovatube, then transfer it to a microscope slide for viewing under a microscope.

Using The Statspin Ovatube® Egg Count Test Is Simplicity Itself

The sampling tool ensures the right measure of sample is taken right from the centre of the faeces without contaminating hands, clothes or other laboratory equipment. The Statspin Ovatube ensures the right amount of a ‘floatation solution’ is always used.

Inserting the sampling tool, mixing faeces and solution, then simply leaving the rest to gravity, settles out the heavier faecal matter to the base of the Ovatube, while the parasite eggs float cleanly to the surface for easy assessment under the microscope.

While laboratory centrifugation after step 3 is an option, in the opinion of Vetlab’s experts, this is an unnecessary expense.

Professional Veterinary Endorsement For The Statspin Ovatube®

Published studies by the Companion Animal Parasitology Council (CAPC) showed that Ovatube performed as well as, and in some cases better than, standard parasite egg detection methods. The report concluded that: “Ovatube offers a much simpler and cleaner procedure than the standard centrifugal method”.

Research published in Veterinary Technician concluded that: “In our study, we found no significant diagnostic difference between CF [centrifugation] and standing flotation,” and “… that centrifugation did not increase parasite egg and oocyst detection. Thus, centrifugation was not needed…”


Everything you and the animals in your care need for Statspin Ovatube parasite egg detection is available from Vetlab Supplies, specialists in veterinary laboratory supplies. Just click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment

For further information visit our website or call 01798 874567

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Egg Detection Method

The Statspin Ovatube Faecal Egg Detection Method

Statspin Ovatube®: Reliable DIY Parasitic Worm Egg Monitoring for Animal Keepers

Keepers and handlers of companion, recreational and rescue animals will find the Statspin Ovatube® Test is the quick, clean and convenient do-it-yourself method for detecting and monitoring intestinal worms and parasites.

With only basic laboratory space and an economically available veterinary microscope, Statspin Ovatube® provides a simple four-step DIY faecal parasite egg detection with no labour-intensive preparation, minimal sample handling and without the need for off-site processing.

Need For Reliable Parasite Egg Detection in Companion and Domestic Animal Faeces

Intestinal parasites can cause serious clinical problems in companion and domestic animals, including weight loss and diarrhoea, especially in young animals. In some animals, such as alpaca and llamas, intestinal parasites can even prove fatal underlining the importance of detecting intestinal parasites in young animals and those in close contact with others.

Detection and monitoring of intestinal parasites in domestic animals can be achieved indirectly by microscopic examination of their faeces for the presence of parasite worm eggs, known as ova or oocysts. However, most of the methods for parasite egg detection are difficult to perform, time consuming and require expensive veterinary laboratory equipment.

The Practical DIY Alternative to Traditional Intestinal Worm Egg Detection

The most used veterinary laboratory method for parasite egg detection is the McMaster Slide Technique. Despite being a veterinary standard, The McMaster test is limited to counting the number of eggs in a diluted sample of faeces. The uneven distribution of parasite worm eggs in animal faeces limits the accuracy of the McMaster test, making it suitable only for larger grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and horses.

For smaller companion animals, the Statspin Ovatube® is much more suitable requiring no dilution step prior to microscopic examination. This makes Ovatube not only more accurate, but faster and more practical for veterinary laboratories and for DIY parasite egg monitoring.

Statspin Ovatube® Makes DIY Parasite Egg Detection Clean, Quick and Cost effective

Statspin Ovatube® is the ideal all-in-one kit for veterinary practices and for owners and keepers of smaller animals such dogs, cats and even birds and reptiles. The Ovatube is also the technique of choice for monitoring intestinal parasite eggs in the faeces of rescue animals such as hedgehogs, and camelids including the increasingly popular llamas and alpacas.

Accurate, fast and reliable as an indirect method for detecting intestinal worm parasites, the only piece of necessary laboratory equipment is an economically priced microscope. All other consumable items and solutions are provided to ensure full detection of worm eggs without any messy, time-consuming preparation.


Ovatube: Quick, Clean Four-Step DIY Intestinal Parasite Worm Egg Detection

The Ovatube 4 stage technique simplifies oocyst egg detection into four key steps of sampling, mixing, filtering and separation with the easy to use three-part, single-use plastic ‘Ovatube’.

Ovatube Step 1: Faeces Sampling

Pushing the plastic sampling tool right into the centre of the faeces allows the removal of a measured sample without contaminating hands, clothes or other items.

Ovatube Step 2: Mixing the Faeces Sample With ‘Flotation Solution’

Placing it into the Ovatube, filled to the line with specially made ‘flotation solution’, then twisting and shaking the tool and faeces sample, causes the lighter parasite worm eggs to float, and the heavier faecal debris to sink out of suspension.

Ovatube Step 3: Filtering Out Larger Particles of Faecal Debris

Removing the larger particles of faecal debris is simply a matter of twisting the provided filter tool partway down the screw-thread conveniently pre-moulded into the inside of the Ovatube. This action forces the larger debris particles further toward the base of the tube.

Ovatube Step 4: Separation of Intestinal Worm Parasite Eggs

Simply allowing the Ovatube to stand vertically in the tube Rack for 5 to 10 minutes is all that’s necessary for any intestinal parasites, ova or oocysts to float right to the surface of the solution.

Alternatively, the Ovatube can be spun at low speed in a veterinary laboratory centrifuge in order to speed oocyst recovery. However, this requires a centrifuge specially adapted to hold 15ml tubes. In the experience of Vetlab’s experts, this centrifugation step entails significant extra cost and is not strictly necessary.

Finally, place a glass microscope cover-slip squarely over the top of the Ovatube, and screw the filter one more twist to bring the fluid in the tube into contact with the cover-slip. Transferring the cover-slip to a microscope slide is all that’s necessary to prepare any worm eggs for viewing under a veterinary laboratory microscope.


Praise For The Ovatube Parasite Egg Detection Method

Veterinary research sponsored at the Companion Animal Parasitology Council (CAPC) showed that Ovatube performed as well as, and in some cases better than, standard parasite egg detection. Easier and cleaner than the McMaster Technique, the CAPC report concluded that: “Ovatube offers a much simpler and cleaner procedure than the standard centrifugal method”.

Simple Parasite Egg Monitoring for At-Home Testing

Research published in Veterinary Technician showed that the Statspin Ovatube method needed no specialised equipment, making DIY parasite egg detection a practical at-home technique. Where other oocyte monitoring tests use a high-speed centrifuge to spin-out faecal debris, simply leaving the Ovatube to stand causes the heavier faecal matter to settle out.

The Veterinary Technician report concluded that: “In our study, we found no significant diagnostic difference between CF [centrifugation] and standing flotation,” and “… that centrifugation did not increase parasite egg and oocyst detection. Thus, centrifugation was not needed…”

Everything you and the animals in your care need for Statspin Ovatube parasite egg detection is available from Vetlab Supplies, specialists in veterinary laboratory supplies. Just click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment

For further information visit our website or call 01798 874567

McMaster Slide Test: Starting Out in DIY Animal Parasite Load Testing

McMaster Slide Test: Starting Out in DIY Animal Parasite Load Testing

The restrictions imposed during the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic forced keepers of pet, domestic and rescued animals to carry out their own parasite load monitoring using the McMaster Slide Faecal Egg Count (FEC) test.

With veterinary practices and diagnostics mostly back to normal, many keepers continue to easily and cost effectively monitor their own animals. Here’s how to get started with only the most essential of veterinary laboratory equipment and an easy to follow McMaster Slide Counting Method.

Get Started In DIY Faecal Egg Monitoring

The McMaster Slide method of estimating the parasite load of an animal is made up of just four easy to understand and perform steps.

First, separate the worm eggs from a sample of the animal’s faeces. Second, find the eggs (oocytes) using a microscope and, third, count them. Finally, knowing both the weight of faeces sampled and the number of worm eggs counted, calculate the animal’s likely level of worm infection.

Egg Counting: What You Need – Flotation Solutions

Not as obvious as the microscope and McMaster counting slide, the Flotation Solutions are the key to the success of egg counting and identification. Flotation solutions are made to a standard or customer specified, specific gravity (SG) more usually known as density.

The fluid density is chosen such that faecal matter and other debris is more dense than the solution and so sinks. But the parasite eggs are less dense, and so float to the top making finding, counting and identifying them straightforward with the right equipment.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The Microscope

Essential to starting out on faecal egg monitoring is a microscope capable of ranging from 40-times (x40) to 100-times (x100) magnification. The Vetlab Premiere Range of microscopes are economical, easy to use and popular with diagnostic and teaching laboratories.

The microscope will be used to find and count the number of parasite eggs present in a small sample of animal faeces. With a bit of practice it’ll become straightforward not only to estimate the number of eggs, but even identify the likely species of worm causing infection.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The McMaster Counting Slide

The McMaster Counting Slide is the simple yet brilliantly adapted microscope slide used and relied upon by animal health practitioners since 1939. Made in glass or tough acrylic plastic, the slide is basically the carrier for a square cavity of known volume – usually 0.15ml.

After a sample of faeces, treated with a specific ‘flotation solution’ is placed in the McMaster Slide cavity and covered with a second, thinner slide. Parallel lines etched into this ‘cover slide’ create five equal divisions. Viewed with the microscope, the floating parasite eggs – just under the cover slip – can be counted and identified within each division.

Egg Counting: What You Need – The Simple Final Calculation

With a little practice, counting the number of parasite eggs seen within the grid lines of the McMaster Slide becomes a quick and easy routine.
As long as the Vetlab McMaster Slide Counting Method has been followed precisely, all that remains is to multiply the counted number of parasite eggs by 25 to get the number of eggs per gram (e.p.g.) of animal faeces.
For more information on the Vetlab McMaster Slide Count Method, veterinary laboratory equipment, ready-made or customised flotation solutions, search or click Vetlab F.E.C  Kits & Equipment


For further information visit our website or call 01798 874567

Hedgehogs to Llamas: The McMaster DIY Faecal Egg Count

Hedgehogs to Llamas: The McMaster DIY Faecal Egg Count

Simple, reliable and cost effective, the McMaster slide Faecal Egg Count (FEC) test equips you to monitor the parasitic load and intestinal health of your pet, commercial and rescue animals.

Left untreated, parasitic intestinal worms in animals from hedgehogs to llamas and alpacas can cause serious illness and even death to infected animals.

A wide variety of parasitic worms can reproduce inside loved and valuable animals. Infection spreads through millions of microscopic eggs shed into the faeces of even one host animal to contaminate shared bedding, stabling, pasture or foodstuff.

Impact Of Covid 19 On Routine Faecal Parasite Egg Monitoring

For pet, commercial and rescue animal keepers, restricted access to routine veterinary monitoring was one of many distressing side effects of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Managing the risks to animal health, even by such readily treatable conditions as parasitic intestinal worms, became much more critical in the absence of regular and reliable testing.

Do It Yourself Diagnostic Faecal Egg Counting (FEC) Techniques

Conveniently, for pet, commercial and rescue animal keepers, the veterinary standard diagnostic for intestinal worms can now be simply, reliably, and economically carried out as a DIY in-house test.
Although microscopic parasitic intestinal worms can be difficult to observe and identify, their eggs – and their potential to cause significant further infection – are larger and more easily observed and identified.

Identifying Intestinal Worms And Estimating Parasitic Load

Identifying and estimating an animal’s ‘parasitic load’ uses pre-prepared solutions and basic laboratory equipment, readily available from Vetlab Supplies. Vetlab’s easy-to-follow laboratory method guides you through the taking of samples, preparing the test, examination under the microscope and identifying the type and likely numbers of parasitic intestinal worms.
The straightforward method is known to veterinary surgeons as the McMaster Slide FEC (Faecal Egg Count) Test. A laboratory standard since 1939, The McMaster Slide is basically a small glass cavity of known volume with a calibrated transparent cover that can be viewed under a microscope.

The McMaster Slide Standard Laboratory Faecal Egg Count (FEC)

The McMaster Slide Test relies on the simple fact that, in specified flotation solutions, parasite worm eggs float, while most of the other solid matter in animal faeces tends to sink. So if the number of parasite eggs in a measured weight of faeces can be counted, then the parasitic load in the animal’s digestive system can be easily calculated.
And, because the eggs of different parasites have different characteristics, so the careful use of a veterinary microscope and a guided choice of specific flotation solutions, the type and species of intestinal worm can be identified for relevant treatment and control.

Identify Parasites With Off The Shelf Or Custom Made Flotation Solutions

Vetlab Supplies offers a range of off the shelf and customised faecal flotation solutions ideal for general and species specific egg count testing. Matching the density (specific gravity) of the flotation solution to the density of the target worm species eggs allows a qualitative as well as quantitative estimate of an animal’s parasitic load.

For McMaster Slides manufactured in glass and robust acrylic, together with all necessary flotation solutions, as well as economical easy to set up and use microscopes, just click or search Vetlab Supplies F.E.C Kits & Equipment


For further information visit our website or call 01798 874567

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Giardiasis Symptoms Explained

Diagnosis Needs This Test

New research reveals how the Giardia parasite causes intestinal tissue damage that allows other pathogens to flourish. However, the symptoms of giardiasis in animals (and humans) are not necessarily confirmatory. For vets, monoclonal antibody-mediated diagnostic Giardia test kits provide rapid, accurate detection both the active disease (trophozoite) and the carrier state (cyst).

The Giardia Parasite is One of Animal Health’s Oldest Enemies

The flagellated protozoan responsible for giardiasis is among the first microorganisms to be visually recognised by early day microbiologists. The motile, trophozoite, form of the Giardia parasite was first observed in 1681 by pioneer microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek from stools of his own diarrhoea.

Named in 1882 to honour of Professor Alfred Mathieu Giard, the genus includes G.lamblia (also known as G.intestinalis and G.duodenalis) infecting humans and other mammals, together with G.ardeae and G.psittaci specific to birds, G.agilis to amphibians, and G.microti to voles.

Giardia Poses a Zoonotic Infection Risk to Human Health

Giardia parasites represent a zoonotic risk, meaning that the infection can spread from animals to humans. In May 2018, Public Health England reported increasing Giardia infection in England and Wales from just over 3,600 cases in 2013 to almost 4,500 thousand in 2016.

The report largely attributed the rise in observed infection rates to the increased use of immunological diagnostic methods. The effectiveness of such methodology underlines the case for the specific monoclonal antibody-based techniques of Giardia.spp diagnostic testing.

Symptoms Alone May Not Be Diagnostic of Giardiasis

In January 2018, researchers at the University of East Anglia uncovered the pathology underlying the symptoms of Giardiasis. Published in the journal Gigascience, UEA scientists describe how the active parasite produces ‘copy-cat’ human Tenascin proteins.

Tenascins balance the need for cells to stick together or break apart during tissue repair and wound healing. Excess Tenascins, due to Giardia infection, upset this balance causing the cells that line the intestine to break apart and release nutrients, which other gut bacteria exploit as food.

The waste and toxins produced by these other organisms cause symptoms including diarrhoea, flatulence, light stools, abdominal pain, nausea and dehydration; symptoms in common with other mammalian diseases and infections.

Giardia Diagnostic Testing Relies on Monoclonal Antibodies

Spread through faeces contaminated water, and a particular danger to young, infirm and immunologically challenged animals, diagnosing Giardiasis requires accurate diagnostic testing as well as expert recognition of symptoms.

FASTest Giardia Strip is instantly ready for use and stores at room temperature for up to 18 months. Precise and specific monoclonal antibodies detect both the trophozoite and cyst antigen to provide a clear-cut diagnosis in minutes through a simple 2-step process.

For further information about the FASTest Giardia Veterinary Kit: Contact Vetlab Supplies on 01798 874567 or visit our website

Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Simple D.Immitis Test Key To Early Heartworm Diagnosis

Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a seriously debilitating disease of dogs throughout southern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America. Though not yet established in the UK, climate changes and the presence of mosquitoes capable of transmitting the parasite highlights the benefits a simple and reliable D.immitis diagnostic test with real-world practicality.

What Is Dog Heartworm?

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a thread-like parasitic worm that infects the heart, lungs and blood vessels of wild and domestic dog species as well as ferrets, bears, seals, sea lions and, more rarely, cats and humans.  Heartworms form a congestive mass in the heart of an infected animal severely restricted the circulation of blood through the lungs and around the body.

Dogs suffering from heartworm infestation can show symptoms including weight loss or anorexia, a soft but persistent cough, lethargy or a reluctance to exercise, rapid or difficult breathing, decreased appetite, swelling around the chest or abdomen and – in the worst cases – sudden collapse and even death.

Changing-up: The Risk of Heartworm In The UK

Heartworm is a ‘vector-borne’ parasite transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Immature D.immitis larvae are injected, by mosquito bite, into the bloodstream of a domestic or wild population dog. With hundreds of others, they grow into adult heartworm forming a tangled, congestive mass in the dog’s blood vessels, organs and heart. Mating, they produce more larvae which are taken up by a feeding mosquito to continue the cycle of infection.

Vector-borne diseases require a ‘perfect triangle’ of hosts, vectors and a transmissible parasite. The UK already has a population of dog hosts and the mosquitoes capable of carrying the infective larvae, though a cool climate keeps the mosquito population low. Increased foreign travel under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), together with illegal dog imports heightens the risk of dogs arriving in the UK with a D.immitis infection. Climate change is likely to increase the numbers, lifespan and spread of the home mosquito population.

Early Detection of Heartworm Is The Key To The Cure

Dogs suffering from heartworm can be treated with a combined regime of medication and rest. Some degree of preventative treatment may also be available for dogs travelling to areas where D.immitis infection is more common. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to advise on the best course of action for you and your dog.

Where infection by, or exposure to, heartworm-carrying mosquitoes is suspected an immediate visit to your vet is essential. Vets and veterinary laboratories are equipped to carry out a range of procedures, including X-ray, ultrasound, ECG and highly specific veterinary diagnostic tests to detect clinical and early-stage signs of heartworm infection.

FASTest Heartworm Ag is a simple, 15-minute test for detecting specific Dirofilaria immitis markers (antigens) in whole blood, plasma or serum from dogs thought to have been exposed to infected mosquitoes. Test data shows the clear, colour-change test to be 98.6 % sensitive and 99.1% specific. Storage at room temperature (15-25° C) and long shelf life makes the all-in-one test kit a practical and economical veterinary field and laboratory diagnostic test.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products or contact us on 01798 874567.

You Say Leishmaniosis, I Say Leishmaniasis…

You Say Leishmaniosis, I Say Leishmaniasis…

Diagnosis and Testing

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they do have subtlety different meanings in medical and veterinary terminology. Whichever term you choose, global travel and climate change is likely to increase the demand for Leishmania diagnostic testing.

Canine Hosted Parasite With the Zoonotic Risk to Humans

Leishmaniasis usually refers to the abnormal conditions or characteristics caused by infection with the Leishmania infantum protozoan in humans. Leishmaniosis, on the other hand, is more often used to describe the disease process caused by the presence of this intracellular parasite in its primary host, the dog. However, in general use, the terms seem interchangeable.

Named to honour Scottish pathologist and Director of Army Medical Services, William Boog Leishman, the parasite is spread principally through bites from species of blood-sucking Phlebotominae mosquitoes generally known as sandflies. According to, dogs and cats infected with Leismania.spp can exhibit a range of symptoms affecting their digestive, cutaneous, ocular, circulatory and nervous systems.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes and Skin Lesions May Aid Diagnosis

Most dogs carrying the parasite show no clinical symptoms and may live for many years before becoming obviously sick. As the clinical disease is almost always fatal, accurate and rapid diagnosis of leishmaniosis in dogs is critical whenever an infection is suspected.

Knowledge of an animal’s travel history can be a key factor in helping vets to diagnose a suspected case of leishmaniosis. Dogs showing enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenomegaly) and skin lesions, with a history of travel to the Mediterranean or Africa and South America, may be prime candidates for diagnostic testing for Leishmania.

Vaccination, Insecticides and Fly Repellent Collars

Preventing infection in the first place is always the best course of action. Protective collars, repellent to fleas and ticks as well as sandflies, reduce the chance of the dog being bitten by the disease’s insect vector. Insecticides too, applied to areas of bare skin, protect those parts of a dog most vulnerable to sandfly predation.

Although there is currently no vaccine against the risk of Leishmania infection, a vaccine to strengthen the Leishmania immune response has been licensed for use in dogs since 2011. Owners of dogs intending to travel with their animals into Leishmania.spp endemic areas would be advised to consult their vets well in advance of their journey.

Rapid, Reliable Diagnostic Testing for L.infantum Antigens

Because of the disease’s long asymptomatic period, it is recommended that well-travelled pets should be tested for pre-existing infection, especially before any vaccine is administered or further travel considered. FASTest Leish is the long shelf-life, simple colour-change test giving clear-cut antibody mediated results in 15 minutes.

Visit our website to see our full range of Veterinary Products or contact us on 01798 874567.

Ticking Off

Ticking Off

Still The Best Protection Against ‘Tracker Dog Disease’ Ehrlichiosis

Environmental change is exposing Britain’s dogs to more and more diseases once confined to warmer Mediterranean and tropical climes. Diseases spread by ‘vectors’ including fleas, mites and ticks pose a special risk. One such disease, Canine Ehrlichiosis, is of growing concern to UK vets and dog owners.

Tracker Dog Disease

Called ‘tracker dog disease’ and tropical pancytopenia in the US, due to its infection of military dogs serving in Vietnam, Canine Ehrlichiosis is also known as canine rickettsiosis or canine haemorrhagic fever. The infection spreads from dog to dog in the saliva of bites from the nymphs of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus.

Acute symptoms of the disease include; fever, anorexia, depression, with longer-term chronic symptoms such as anaemia, weight loss, depression, petechiae, pale mucous membranes and oedema. In the most severe cases, infected dogs may die from massive haemorrhaging, severe debilitation or secondary infections. Some infected dogs show no clinical signs and remain as carriers for many years, but may suddenly develop chronic symptoms.

What Causes the Symptoms?

Canine Ehrlichiosis symptoms may be caused by infection with one of a number of Ehrlichia spp. pathogens including Ehrlichia canis. E. canis is widespread in the warmer parts of many countries including France, Greece, Spain and Italy. In 2013 a Tibetan Terrier in London with no history of foreign travel outside of the UK, or known contact with travelled dogs, was diagnosed with E.canis.

The pathogenic agent of Ehrlichiosis is an intracellular Gram-negative bacteria that penetrates and destroys white blood cells. Ehrlichia bacteria are similar to other pathogenic invaders including Rickettsiacea and Anaplasma spp.

In the last few decades, interest in Ehrlichioses has spread beyond the veterinary profession. In 1986, the first diagnosis of the condition in a human patient indicated Ehrlichia’s zoonotic potential and risk to human health.

MegaCor FASTest Ehrlichia canis is a is a rapid immunochromatographic screening test for antibodies produced in response to Ehrlichia canis infection. As with other kits in the FASTest veterinary diagnostic range, the all-in-one test kit is simple to use, responds positively with a quick, clear-cut colour-change with a shelf life of up to 24 months even at room temperature storage.

Warm Weather and Parasite Activity

Although there are no current vaccines against Ehrlichia infections, most dogs recover from the acute and subclinical phases. With the approach of warmer weather and increasing parasite activity, preventing canine ehrlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases including Lymes disease and Borrelia burgdorferi, will best be achieved by avoiding exposure to the tick vector. Your vet will be able to advise on the most suitable tick preventative measures for your dog and lifestyle.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or Telephone: 01798 874567

Why Springtime is The Big Time for Ticks

Why Springtime is The Big Time for Ticks

It’s Not the Blood They Suck, It’s What They Leave Behind

Ticks are an unpleasant experience for dogs and people. Unlikely to cause lasting harm in themselves, the diseases and infections they carry, however, are another more serious story. FASTest Lyme and FASTest Bor-In-Tick help vets in the fight against Tick-Borne Diseases.

Cold Blooded Parasite Seeks Warm Blooded Host

Having no way to regulate their body heat, ticks are not normally inactive through the winter but begin actively feeding in the spring and early summer. In the heat summer, some species of tick reduce their parasitism greatly, though ticks often reach a second peak of activity in the autumn.

Most likely to sink its jaws into your dog is the sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus), although ticks more commonly found on hedgehogs, (Ixodes hexagonus) or hosted by foxes and badgers (Ixodes canisuga), might also help themselves to a blood meal from you or your canine companion.

Picture of sheep Tick
Sheep Tick

The Three Blood-Sucking Stages of a Tick’s Life

Ticks have a 3-stage life cycle. Depending on the species of tick, each stage might feed on a different host or take a repeat meal from the same species type.

After hatching from over-wintering eggs, the six-legged tick larvae climb plant stems to hitch a lift and scrounge a blood-meal from a passing warm-blooded animal.

Suitably fed, the larvae releases its grip and falls to the ground where it grows, moults and develops into its second, immature form as an 8-legged nymph. The nymph stage repeats the behaviour of its younger self, again feeding and dropping off into the warm moist undergrowth where it matures into its hard coated, 8-legged adult form.

After mating, the adult female tick climbs out of the undergrowth one final time to suck the blood that will nourish her eggs before dropping back to earth to lay the eggs that will lie dormant and hatch out in the following spring.

In-Tick Test Puts Vets One Step Ahead of Borrelia-Lymes

Heavy infestations of ticks can take enough blood from their hosts to cause anaemia, and the wound caused by a tick bite can become infected, especially if its mouthparts remain embedded in the skin. The most serious potential for sickness and even death from tick bites comes from their role as vectors for blood-borne parasites. Perhaps the highest profile Tick-Borne Disease (TDB) is Lymes Disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.

Lymes disease, in a blood sample from a suspected infection, is rapidly and reliably diagnosed with the FASTest Lyme diagnostic kit. Now, with FASTest Bor-in-Tick, Vets can test for B.burgdorferi in ticks found on animals or in their environment, putting vets and their clients one step ahead of a potential Lyme Borrelia outbreak.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or Telephone: 01798 874567