Faecal Worm Counts

Faecal worm counts can be used to screen for many parasites that affect your pet. This can not only aid diagnosis but can enable you to tailor parasite control to individual animals and avoid unnecessary use of anthelmintics.

Why perform a faecal worm count

  • Otherwise you may not know if your pet has intestinal parasites or lungworm
  • To help determine if your worming regime is working
  • To help you decide whether to worm and what to use
  • To minimise transmission of parasites to other animals and people
  • To minimise the overuse of anthelmintic treatments and therefore the potential resistance to these

What parasites can we diagnose

The faecal test can diagnose infections with intestinal worms and also lungworm. Intestinal worms include roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm and can be diagnosed on a single faecal sample. The potentially fatal parasite lungworm can be diagnosed but this involves a different technique and fresh faecal samples collected for three consecutive days as this parasite has a large daily variation in larval excretion.

For more information on these parasites this PDF document is useful.

How often to test

How often you perform a faecal worm count may depend on the risk of your individual pet. Those considered high risk include animals who regularly hunt, eat slugs/snails/grass/faeces or live in an area of known high prevalence. It is recommended to check higher risk animal’s faeces every two months but for others every two to four months should be suitable

Many clinics recommend worming against all potential parasites every month. This could be considered excessive as we can use tests such as the faecal worm test to determine if we should worm and what we should use, but also importantly this means we are giving our pets these treatments when they may not require them, and will likely increase the chances of parasites becoming resistant to the treatments

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