A new coproantigen sandwich ELISA detecting all cattle with >15 flukes has been developed for tropical fasciolosis by Piedrafita and Spithill (Estunignshih et al J Parasitol Sept in press 2008): these antibodies also detect a defined F. hepatica antigen in faeces (unpublished data). The advantage of this assay is that it detects shed antigen in faeces and thus identifies an active infection using a single antigen. We propose to apply this test and compare it with current ELISAs and traditional tests for fluke infection. In this Project, we will compare the coproantigen ELISA with existing commercial ELISA kits (eg. BioX) to compare the relative sensitivities of the assays. We will use the coproantigen ELISA to examine the fluke infection status in animals, especially dairy cattle from NSW and N Victoria using data from the sheep abattoir survey to identify regions of interest. Northern rivers cattle may be an additional source of samples. Time course studies will be performed in infected, penned animals at CSU, in particular to track the expected decline in test readings following effective treatment. For each sample (or herd) we will compare 2 coproantigen tests, a plasma ELISA and faecal egg counts.
Gastric ulceration is a common disease of performance horses. It is readily diagnosed by endoscopic examination of the stomach, however this process is expensive, requires specialised equipment and fasting of the horse prior to the procedure. Gastrointestinal integrity may be evaluated by a number of alternative methods that improve our ability to diagnose and monitor this condition.