Irish firm develops handheld test for infections in horses

A simple stall-side test has been developed in Ireland  to determine whether a horse has an infection.
A simple stall-side test has been developed in Ireland to determine whether a horse has an infection.

An Irish company has developed what it says is the world’s first handheld blood test for horses to detect infection.

Company StableLab officially launched the device of the same name at the Dublin Horse Show this weekend.

The device, developed by Dr Heinrich Anhold, a former junior international showjumper with Ireland, can produce a result within minutes.

Anhold said the the device combined biomarker and digital technologies.

Speaking at its launchy, Dr Nathan Slovis, from the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Kentucky, said: “We have been using StableLab for the past number of months in our clinical practice.

“We find that it is an earlier and more sensitive indicator of equine inflammatory and infectious diseases than other lab methods.”

It was, he said, a breakthrough in stall-side diagnostics, and presented a new way of blood testing.

StableLab works by testing for a protein called serum amyloid A (SAA), which is present in a horse’s blood only when there is an infection.

A blood-test cartridge used at the horse’s side gives a simple-to-read colour result, indicating clearly the presence of SAA in the event of infection.

SAA has proven to be more reliable as a biomarker for infections than standard white blood cells.

To date, tests for SAA tests have only ever been carried out in a laboratory.

Anhold, who founded the company and is its chief executive, said: “We believe this is the future of equine healthcare.

“The beauty of this product is in its simplicity. You don’t need to send your blood sample to a lab and you don’t need a PhD to interpret the results.

“As someone who has competed at the Royal Dublin Show on Show Day, I know what you need from your horse and the value of being able to confirm on the spot that your horse is good to compete.

“We’ve worked really hard over the last few years to design a product that brings together the science and the technology, in a way that works for the industry.”

StableLab was recognised as Ireland’s Best Emerging Company in 2010.


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