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Vet Parasitol. 2011 May 11;177(3-4):345-52. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.12.010. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

Calibration and diagnostic accuracy of simple flotation, McMaster and FLOTAC for parasite egg counts in sheep.

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Department of Pathology and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, CREMOPAR Regione Campania, Naples, Italy.


The present study was aimed at carrying out a calibration and a comparison of diagnostic accuracy of three faecal egg counts (FEC) techniques, simple flotation, McMaster and FLOTAC, in order to find the best flotation solution (FS) for Dicrocoelium dendriticum, Moniezia expansa and gastrointestinal (GI) strongyle eggs, and to evaluate the influence of faecal preservation methods combined with FS on egg counts. Simple flotation failed to give satisfactory results with any samples. Overall, FLOTAC resulted in similar or higher eggs per gram of faeces (EPG) and lower coefficient of variation (CV) than McMaster. The "gold standard" for D. dendriticum was obtained with FLOTAC when using FS7 (EPG=219, CV=3.9%) and FS8 (EPG=226, CV=5.2%) on fresh faeces. The "gold standard" for M. expansa was obtained with FLOTAC, using FS3 (EPG=122, CV=4.1%) on fresh faeces. The "gold standard" for GI strongyles was obtained with FLOTAC when using FS5 (EPG=320, CV=4%) and FS2 (EPG=298, CV=5%). As regard to faecal preservation methods, formalin 5% and 10% or freezing showed performance similar to fresh faeces for eggs of D. dendriticum and M. expansa. However, these methods of preservation were not as successful with GI strongyle eggs. Vacuum packing with storage at +4°C permitted storage of GI strongyle eggs for up to 21 days prior to counting. Where accurate egg counts are required in ovine samples the optimum method of counting is the use of FLOTAC. In addition, we suggest the use of two solutions that are easy and cheap to purchase and prepare, saturated sodium chloride (FS2) for nematoda and cestoda eggs and saturated zinc sulphate (FS7) for trematoda eggs and nematoda larvae.

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