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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 a test with a Limit of Quantification (LOQ) as low as 5 Eggs Per Gram (EPG). Fascinatingly giving you a greater understanding of WECs, especially in cattle.

Previous testing methods fail 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?

Mini-FLOTAC’s origins come from Italy, made by the University of Naples Federico II. They are comprised of two 1ml flotation chambers. This, consequently, allows 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. Particularly offering a far more sensitive WEC test to cattle farmers.

When Monitoring is Missing the Mark

Previous testing methods, such as the Modified McMaster, 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. Consequently, each count that we currently call ‘zero’ could potentially really be shedding 337,500 eggs per day.

There is a lack of expertise in interpretation of test results. Unfortunately, this accounts for the reason why adoption of WECs in cattle is low compared to sheep.

In sheep this is not an issue. Their WEC’s are generally much higher than cattle. For instance, we have developed meaningful interpretations based on 40-50epg sensitivity.

Production and Economic Improvements
  1. A study in Argentina conducted with respect to the economic treatment response in milk production had noteworthy results. They found that for pasture-fed dairy cows there is response, down to the level of 1 EPG.
  2. 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. Obviously one must establish these numbers prior to drenching.

In sheep this is reasonably easy to do. Yet in cattle it is difficult to attain. Many studies have come adrift because they could not reach the required level. Forget about even the compromise of 200 EPG.

Recent statistical interpretation over shows that it is not necessary to have these high levels pre-drench. Instead, you must increase numbers (preferably to 15 head per group or greater) and have more sensitive methods. Obviously, the greater the sensitivity, the better!

Better pasture management

Knowing the worm egg count means you know the level of contamination on pasture. Research shows that the metabolic and production cost to the animal is twofold. Firstly, the cost comes from battling established parasites or due to parasite-induced lack of appetite. Then also the cost comes from the immune challenge to larvae on pasture.

Find out more by contacting us. Alternatively, order our WEC Test Kits here.