|Sample Requirement||Turnaround Time|
Faeces (10g minimum)
Same working day
These remain the basis of equine intestinal parasitic surveillance and monitoring of worm control programmes. They are not always a reliable means of assessing an individual horse, due to the inability to detect larval organisms within the mucosa, and natural variability of the egg shedding within the faeces. Other haematological findings and serum protein (albumin and protein electrophoresis) investigations may also be indicated.
Testing methods vary between laboratories and we can offer three methods:
Our routine screening assay is performed using a modification of the ‘ovassay’ method, a flotation method which is particularly suitable for use in horse samples as it is extremely sensitive at detecting low numbers of strongyle and related species eggs. Ascarid and Strongyloides spp. eggs are also detected. Our own data indicates that this method is more sensitive than the McMaster method; McMaster method is suitable for counting worm eggs in samples where high counts are expected (e.g. welfare cases, farm animals) as these methods involve dilution rather than concentration of the eggs into the counting area. Our experience is that most well-managed horses under good endoparasite control regimes consistently have zero strongyle eggs/g of faeces, using the Ovassay technique.
We are also able to offer the McMaster method if required. A more complex Centrifugation/Floatation method ('Moredun' method) is available and is currently considered the most sensitive method, accurate to 1 egg/g, and is recommend for worm egg count reduction testing.
Tapeworm segments may sometimes be seen in the faeces by gross examination and are often seen in the caecal content of tapeworm-related intussusception cases at surgical correction.
A serological tapeworm (ELISA) test is available.