An article recently published on TheHorse.com featured an interview with leading research professor Derek Knottenbelt, OBE, BVM&S, DVM&S, Dip.ECEIM, MRCVS, featuring his research using the SUCCEED Equine Fecal Blood Test to identify gastrointestinal pathologies in horses. Knottenbelt was interviewed for the article following his presentation at the SIVE conference in Milan, Italy, in February. He described the clinical value of the FBT for practitioners diagnosing GI health conditions in their equine patients.
Knottenbelt, professor of equine medicine at the University of Liverpool (UK) and a clinical consultant at the University of Glasgow (Scotland), explains how the fecal blood test is an “elegantly simple” diagnostic test, and the first of its kind, to provide objective data on the health of the entire equine gut. He compares the FBT’s ability to detect bleeding from sources caudal to the duodenum to the diagnostic advances attained with the introduction of the flexible three-meter endoscope for visualizing gastric ulcers.
“The fact of the matter is, (after the stomach) the horse has got 65 feet of small intestine, plus about 20 feet of large intestine, plus another eight feet of small colon that we can’t get at by any means at the moment,” Knottenbelt explains. “So this test, I believe, has considerable potential in trying to confirm the existence of some pathology somewhere in the gut,” something that has been difficult to confirm except during surgery or at necropsy.
Knottenbelt is currently involved in several independent studies analyzing the FBT’s efficacy in diagnosing GI conditions such as right dorsal colitis, fungal, parasitical, and bacterial infections, ulceration, eosinophilic enteritis, intestinal tumors and more. He believes the FBT is most useful early in the diagnostic process as an initial screener for potential gastrointestinal pathologies.
“It should not be criticized for its simplicity,” he relayed. “It should be used because it is elegantly simple, and therefore it should enable the clinician to say, ‘Hang on. There’s something else going on here, and we have to find what it is.’ I think that’s where the test is at its best at the moment.”