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Worm Faecal Egg Counts (FECs)

Testing Methods and Samples Required

Disease Test Method Animal Species Samples tested Accreditation status

Worm Fecal Egg Counts

McMasters technique




FEC’s assess the number of worm eggs passed per gram of faeces. Numerous factors effects this; including faecal density and viscosity¸ resistance, pregnancy, lactation and the concentration of mature worms.

Parasitic Gastroenteritis (PGE) is the infection of intestines and abomasum that builds up and causes cattle / sheep to become increasingly ill, resulting in catastrophic economic and welfare implications.

Grazing cattle pick up the infection by ingesting larvae that has survived the winter. The most prominent times of the year when infection occurs are late summer, autumn, late winter and early spring.

To ensure increased parasite control a strategic monitoring plan should be implemented early in the grazing season.

Examples of effective control measures that should be implemented are:

  • Clinical assessment (Symptoms of infection can include: scour, weight loss and coughing)
  • Average daily gain (ADG). The optimum weight gain in grazing cattle should be between 0.7-0.8kg per day
  • Body condition scores (BCS)
  • Faecal egg counts (FEC). Getting samples tested by an independent accredited laboratory is vital. A sampling strategy can be discussed with your veterinarian