Detect and Monitor Equine Inflammation Due To Infection in 10 Minutes

Use Stablelab® to measure Serum Amyloid A, a reliable biomarker for infection in horses 

Equine influenza virus (EIV) outbreaks can be frightening for how quickly it can spread in horses. Imagine being at a horse show or at a barn where a few horses come down with fevers of 102°-105° F and nasal discharge. You suspect EIV. But how can you know for sure? And how can you quickly identify inflammation due to infection?

This was the position Holly Helbig, DVM and owner of the Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic, found herself in while caring for horses at a show. She suspected EIV due to the signs presented, and knew she needed to act quickly to protect the other horses. 

“Once a case of EIV is confirmed, horse owners worry that their horses could have been exposed or possibly infected,” Helbig said. “Horse owners are looking for a quick response for peace of mind. That is where SAA testing with Stablelab comes in.”

Detecting Inflammation Due To Infection With SAA
Serum Amyloid A (SAA) is a major, acute phase protein produced by the liver that is a reliable biomarker for inflammation due to infection. SAA levels rapidly and dramatically increase in response to an infection.1 Using Stablelab®, a hand-held stall-side diagnostic blood test, Helbig and her team conducted SAA tests on a large population of horses at the show. In 10 minutes, Stablelab detected inflammation due to possible infection in some of the horses before they showed clinical signs such as a fever.

“At a show, I will have upwards of 700 horses under my care, so the SAA testing provided crucial information to help guide me in determining what horses needed to be isolated,” Helbig said.

Monitoring Equine Influenza With SAA
Dr. Helbig developed and quickly implemented a plan of action to isolate and care for possible infected horses. SAA testing with Stablelab provided the results needed to successfully enforce the plan, which included: 

• Monitoring horses in different barns that potentially came into contact with an infected horse at the show. 

• Conducting an SAA test on horses showing EIV signs and obtaining results without leaving the horse’s side. 

• Isolating horses with SAA levels greater than 50 and then testing for EIV. 

• Quarantining EIV-positive horses to minimize the risk of spreading EIV. 

• Conducting follow-up SAA tests three days later to monitor treatment response. 

“In my practice, I use Stablelab primarily for a fever of unknown origin, cellulitis and respiratory issues when I am at horse shows. In cases like this one, where I suspected EIV, Stablelab proved itself a valuable tool to help me to monitor, isolate and treat infected horses,” Helbig said. 

Incorporate Stablelab Into Your Practice
The ability to identify inflammation in infected horses before they show clinical signs is critical, not only for the health of the horse, but for your clients’ peace of mind. Here are opportunities to incorporate SAA testing with Stablelab in your practice:

Primary and ambulatory care: Stablelab was designed to be used in the field to provide results in 10 minutes without leaving the horse’s side. Anytime you use antibiotics, test their SAA levels, quantify the inflammation due to infection and then use Stablelab to monitor the response to treatment. 

Reproduction: Pregnancy, parturition and the early neonatal period are high-risk life stages for the horse. Conduct SAA testing to identify inflammation and ward off potential health challenges. 

Referral hospital: Measure SAA as part of your minimum database at the time of admission. Screen for subclinical inflammation due to infection prior to surgery and monitor the response to treatment over their hospitalization. 

To learn more about SAA testing with Stablelab, contact your Zoetis Equine Specialist or visit

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately 10,600 employees. For more information, visit

For more information, contact: 
Stuart Meikle

Theresa Fitzgerald
Bader Rutter 

1 Jacobsen, Stine. Review of equine Acute-Phase proteins. AAEP Proceedings vol 53 2007. Pages 230 - 235.



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