The Large Ruminants we conduct worm egg counts on are cattle – both meat and dairy. As one may know, ruminants are cud-chewing animals. Due to the nature and size of their four-chambered stomachs, the types and quantities of worms differ between small and large ruminants. Consequently, the tests we offer also differ slightly. Info on our small ruminant tests can be found here.
Worm egg counts (WEC) are an accurate method of checking the worm burden of an individual or group of ruminant animals. This provides the information needed to make an effective parasite management plan allowing the farmer to only drench when needed. This can reduce the frequency of drenching, reduce worm resistance to regularly used drenches and increase the efficacy of drench.
A WEC determines the number of eggs in a sample of faeces and is recorded as ‘eggs per gram’ (EPG).
An individual WEC gives you 15 individual counts from each of the wells in our sample collection tray in the WEC test kit. Eggs per gram (EPG) are calculated for each of the 15 samples to show the highs, lows and distribution of eggs in a mob. This provides valuable information on existing (adult) worm burdens and pasture larval populations.
In this test, 15 samples will be divided into 3 pools with each pool representing 5 animals. The pooled test provides averages for worm burden in the mob however it does not provide detailed information on the variation of worm burdens within your mob. Pooled counts are best used as a broad indication of worm burdens if testing is done regularly.
Dawbuts offers the most sensitive egg count method in Australia, Mini-FLOTAC. Although we offer Mini-FLOTAC for all our faecal egg count services, it should be noted that the FLOTAC method is best used in cattle, or when conducting drench resistance tests. We can do both pooled and individual counts using this method. For more information about Mini-FLOTAC follow the highlight.
As eggs of the significant worm species appear very similar during worm egg counts, a larval culture will be required to identify individual species. This adds informative value to the test results as knowing which worm species are present can allow you to implement a strategic drench use plan. Larval cultures take 7 to 10 days.
Below is a list of some the worm species a larval culture & differentiation will help identify. Note, the tapeworm and coccidia are actually identified when conducting the worm egg counts only.
This test will determine if liver or stomach fluke is present in your herd. Liver fluke can severely impact cattle production, with negative implications on live weight gains, reduced milk yields and reduced fertility. If the intermediate host, the aquatic snail, is present on your property it is recommended that a fluke test is conducted. Note, if your flock only has access to water troughs it is unlikely they will have liver fluke.
With a WEC of 50-150 epg proven to decrease average daily gain by approximately 5% and lactation by 5-10% it is important to drench effectively. A Drench Resistance Test (DRT) allows the farmer to see exactly what drenches are most effective and what types of worms have developed resistance to selected drenches. The data from a DRT on your farm will give you the information you need to make calculated management decisions decreasing production cost and increasing production. For more information on drench testing click here.
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