Submission Guidelines:

  • Fecal samples must be fresh, preferably less than 48 hours old.
  • Refrigerate samples as soon as possible after collection, but DO NOT FREEZE.
  • To prevent sample processing delays, please ensure the submission form and transport containers are labeled consistently and legibly.
  • Refer to the chart below for more specific specimen collection recommendations.
Test Type Agent Specimen Comments
Parasite identification arthropods, cestodes, nematodes, trematodes Whole parasite (in 70% ethanol, 5-10% formalin, or refrigerated water); arthropod (in 70% ethanol, 5-10% formalin; or live - not adhered to tape)  Worms must have both the head and tail intact for proper identification. Submit multiple worms, if possible. Note the location of the worm in the host. A qualitative fecal flotation is recommended in addition to worm identification.
Fecal flotation - quantitative cestode eggs, nematode eggs, coccidian oocysts, some protozoan cysts Feces = 5gm fresh or refrigerated Egg/oocyst counts do not correlate directly with parasite burden. It may be useful for managing deworming and anti-protozoal protocols.
Fecal flotation – qualitative (Sheather's sugar solution) cestode eggs, nematode eggs, coccidian oocysts, some protozoan cysts Feces = 1gm fresh or refrigerated Routine fecal exam. Unlikely to detect trematode eggs, protozoan trophozoites, nematode larvae, and some protozoan cysts.
Fecal flotation - qualitative (zinc sulfate) Filaroides hirthi, Giardia spp. cysts, Oslerus osleri, lungworms, protozoa Feces = 1gm fresh or refrigerated Preserves protozoal cysts and nematode larvae for identification better than routine qualitative fecal float.
Fecal exam - direct Giardia spp., cestodes, nematode larvae, protozoan trophozoites, trematode eggs Feces = 1gm fresh or refrigerated Negative findings are inconclusive, as this method is less sensitive than sedimentation, flotation, or Baermann technique. Preserves delicate forms such as nematode larvae and protozoan trophozoites.
Fecal exam - sedimentation Parelaphostrongylus sp., Physaloptera spp., cestodes, trematode eggs, amoebae, ciliates, acanthocephalan eggs Feces = 1gm fresh or refrigerated More sensitive than direct smear but less sensitive than flotations or Baermann technique. Detects heavy parasite eggs and Strongyloides stercoralis larvae.
Fecal larval exam - Baermann technique Larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis, Aelurostrongylus abstrusus, Dictyocaulus spp., Muellerius capillaris, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, lungworms, nematodes Feces = 10gm fresh or refrigerated It takes advantage of the inability of most nematode larvae to swim against gravity. The qualitative fecal flotation with zinc sulfate is the preferred method for Filaroides spp.
Giardia Panel Giardia spp. (cysts and antigen) Feces = 2gms fresh or refrigerated The panel consists of the qualitative zinc sulfate flotation and the Giardia antigen ELISA. Canine and feline samples only.
Canine heartworm antigen test - ELISA Dirofilaria immitis Serum, plasma (=1mL); blood in LT or RT tube* (=3mL) Detects adult female heartworm antigen.
Knott's test microfilariae of Dirofilaria immitis and Dipetalonema reconditum 1mL blood in LT tube* Visualization of microfilariae in blood.

*Tube abbreviations: RT= red top; LT=lavender top

Criteria for sample rejection:

  • Mismatch of information on the specimen label and the submission form.
  • Mismatch Inappropriate transport temperature (i.e. Frozen).
  • Mismatch Insufficient quantity (i.e. <10 grams for Baermann technique).

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