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Faecal Egg Counts

Faecal egg count kitCrookwell Veterinary Hospital is a leading provider of livestock parasite advice, in-house faecal egg testing, and the supply of worm drenches and other parasite control products. We believe the successful control of internal parasites in farm animals is one of the most important factors in livestock production, especially for sheep producers.

At CVH, we undertake internal parasite testing – faecal egg counts (FEC) – in our own pathology laboratory. The monitoring of egg counts in sheep, cattle, alpacas and horses plays a critical role in determining which large animal products are required.

Our aim is to provide specific advice to suit the needs of your livestock and property. We encourage, and can help you develop, strategic drenching programs that avoid costly and unnecessary drenching. FECs also help us identify emerging drench resistance on your property. When required, we can carry out FERT – faecal egg reduction trials – to test the efficacy of drenches and to detect drench resistance in sheep flocks.

Our products

We stock a wide range of parasite control products. Most importantly, we recommend those products directly on the results of faecal egg testing and/or faecal egg reduction trials, ensuring your livestock are treated with the most efficient chemical groups for your individual farm situation.

If CVH supplies the internal parasite drench, we offer FREE follow up faecal egg testing in 10-14 days.

What is a faecal egg count?

FECs represent the number of worm eggs in a sample of dung at a given time. The count is then expressed as ‘eggs per gram’ of dung. An FEC > 500 is considered highly significant, requiring treatment, and an FEC >250 is significant and may warrant treatment and further investigation. 

Why use faecal egg counts?

  • FECs provide a more accurate assessment of worm burden compared to assessment on clinical signs alone (scouring, weight loss, pale membranes).
  • A count can help identify emerging worm problems before symptoms appear, helping to avoid costly losses in production.
  • FECs help assess the overall worm status of a mob, guide the decision to treat (or not) and alert us to possible resistance.
  • Regular FEC monitoring is cost effective, saving the expense of unnecessary or ineffective drenching.
  • FECs help to assess the efficacy of chemicals used to control worms on your individual property.

What you need to do

CVH supplies a simple collection resource with egg carton, plastic glove and instructions. We process significant numbers of FECs daily – please always ring to book in your samples!

  • Undertake FEC sample collection strategically:
    • before drenching
    • 10-14 days following drenching – this follow up test is essential to determine the efficacy of the chemicals used.
  • Obtain 12 individual samples from a mob of sheep, keep each uncontaminated and place in the 12 sections of the egg carton supplied.
  • Samples can be collected from freshly deposited piles off the ground (avoid excessive dirt or debris) or directly from the rectum of an individual sheep using a gloved finger.
  • Bring to CVH for testing as soon as possible following collection.
  • In mixed ewe/lamb flocks, clearly identify the samples as ewe or lamb.
  • Clean, fresh samples are essential to ensure FEC accuracy.

How does CVH undertake an FEC?

  • Our staff process the droppings and count the worm eggs under a microscope for each individual sample.
  • Results are normally available the same day samples are presented (please book in your samples before delivery).
  • We may suggest further testing such as faecal cultures in some situations to identify the specific worm species causing problems – FECs don’t distinguish between common worm species. Faecal culture results take 10 days.