Mini-FLOTAC: The more sensitive worm egg count

Dawbuts is excited to introduce a breakthrough for cattle and livestock farmers. We are now offering Australia’s most accurate worm egg count service, utilising the innovative sensitivity of Mini-FLOTAC.

Dawbuts is now providing Eggs Per Gram (EPG) counts as low as 5, giving you a greater understanding of cattle WECs.

Previous testing methods such as the Modified McMaster method fails to register EPG counts below 25. This can mean that entire herds are believed to be worm-free, when in fact they are not.

What is Mini-FLOTAC?

Designed in Italy by the University of Naples Federico II, Mini-FLOTAC, comprises two 1ml flotation chambers which allow examination of worm egg suspensions in each chamber. Mini-FLOTAC can be examined at 400x which allows for the detection of intestinal protozoa and the identification of lungworms. Mini-FLOTAC is currently used for detecting and counting helminth eggs in animals and humans, offering a far more sensitive WEC test to cattle farmers in particular.

When Monitoring is Missing the Mark

Previous testing methods such as the Modified McMaster method fails to register EPG counts below 25. This can mean that entire herds are believed to be worm-free, when in fact they are not.

This is problematic in cattle, where an average 450kg beast in a feedlot is producing 27kg of faeces per day. Even if it only had 1 EPG average WEC, then it is still voiding 27,000 eggs per day.

Using a sensitivity of 25 EPG, we are missing half of the cattle that are currently shedding 12.5 EPG. This means that each count that we currently call ‘zero’ could potentially really be shedding 337,500 eggs per day.

This, along with lack of expertise in interpretation of test results, accounts for the reason why adoption of WECs in cattle is low compared to sheep.

In sheep this is not an issue as their WECs are generally much higher than cattle and we have developed meaningful interpretations based on 40-50epg sensitivity.

The Production and Economic Improvements
  1. A study in Argentina found that for pasture-fed dairy cows there is an economic treatment response in milk production, down to the level of 1 EPG.
  2. Multiple studies in feedlots found there is a significant and economically important check to growth rates of cattle at 55 EPG.

Do you know the efficacy of your current drenches?

Current treatments are failing, but our understanding of the ‘status quo’ is limited by very blunt tools. The WAAVP guidelines state that for valid statistical analysis we should start at 300 EPG average across a mob of 15 head prior to drenching.

In sheep this is reasonably easy to do, but in cattle it is difficult – many studies have come adrift because they could not reach the required level, or even the compromise of 200 EPG.

Statistical interpretation over recent years has shown that it is not necessary to have these high levels pre-drench if you instead increase numbers (preferably to 15 head per group or greater) and have more sensitive methods – the lower the better of course!

Better pasture management

Knowing the worm egg count means you know the level of contamination on pasture. Research has shown that the metabolic and production cost to the animal is not just from battling established parasites or due to parasite-induced inappetence, but also from the immune challenge to larvae on pasture.

If you are interested in finding out more, or you wish to order your own WEC test kits, please contact us.