Faecal Egg counting kit

Faecal Egg Counting Kit

Worm and coccidiosis infections are a potential problem for all animals, birds and reptiles (and on occasion humans too!). For farm stock – sheep, pigs, cattle and horses, worms in stock can produce literally millions of eggs in droppings that can infest pastures and set up a cycle of re-infection. For more exotic animals this can be a major problem – alpacas are a good example. But more closer to home, the under threat garden hedgehog and the homing racing pigeon can succumb to these types of infection. The thing to bear in mind is that worm treatments can have quite a challenging effect particularly on smaller animals and birds where the effect can almost be as bad as the infection itself.

The ‘golden rule’ must be to treat what they actually have rather than what they might have! It is not really the answer to treat them ‘just in case’, particularly with wormers.

The only way that you can be sure that your animal, bird or reptile has worm or coccidiosis is to find the eggs in their droppings – a messy job but it has to be done! This is not as complex as you might first think. You need 5 things.

  1. A microscope
  2. A testing kit
  3. Simple and easy to understand instructions for both
  4. Pictures of what you are looking for
  5. Online support if all else fails

The first 4 of these come with what we physically supply and the 5th is always there – just email us.

1.The Microscope

You will need a microscope that magnifies to at least x400, and we have a whole series of these ranging from reasonable price to expensive. For this job there is no need to buy an expensive microscope and we recommend two options that are described below. Your choice depends on whether you would like one eyetube (monocular) or two (binocular). Of course we would be delighted if you wanted to spend more – but you really don’t need to to see those worm and coccidiosis eggs  


The VSP21 monocular microscope with quality glass optics, mains illumination and the ability to magnify between x40 and x800. Basically you plug it in and look down it! In addition the microscope has many features usually found on professional laboratory instruments such as mechanical stage, substage condenser with iris diaphragm and safety stop. For those without previous experience of microscopes – all this means that it is easy to use and you get a really good image. Let’s be honest – there are cheaper plastic toy microscopes out there being offered for the same purpose, but you won’t see clearly enough to decide what it is your looking at. It is worth mentioning here that it is possible to attach either a digital camera or a video camera to this microscope – ask us for details.


This is our suggestion if you would prefer a binocular microscope. Everything described above for the SP21 applies, but in addition there is a binocular head and four objectives giving a magnification range of x40 to x1000.


2. Complete Parasite Identification Kit

Our kit contains everything that is needed to identify worm and coccidiosis without the need for any previous experience. The instructions assume you have never used a microscope before and you can telephone during office hours for practical advice, if you need it. It is based on the Mini-FLOTAC system which really is so simple to use

3. Simple and Easy to Understand Instructions

The microscope (of your choice), and the kit both include detailed instructions on how to use them both, backed up by our online support.

4. Pictures of what you are looking for

These are all included with the ‘kit’

Click to review training video

See our laboratory range

Vetequip VSP35 Binocular @280 euro plus vat

Vetequip VSP21 Microscope @195 euro plus vat

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Faecal Egg counting kit

Knowing what is or is not in the Faeces can provide distinct advantages when choosing a worming product

The following parasites can be identified with this kit.
Roundworm (Ascardia columbae)
The worm itself is fairly large measuring up to mm in length. Large
numbers of eggs measuring approximately 90 x 50 microns can be
round in droppings (0.1 mm = 100 microns) Heavy infestations can
occur without clear signs of ill effect.
Roundworm (Ornithostrongylus quadruadiatus)
The worm measures up to 25 mm in length and is red in colour.
Infestations affect the crop and small intestine, where the worm
burrows into the wall causing bleeding which may show in the
droppings. The eggs are similar in shape to Ascardia, but are a little
smaller measuring 70 x 40 microns. The parasite may be responsible
for heavy loses in breeding stock.

Hairworm (Capillaria)
These are small “hair like” worms measuring up to 15 mm in length.
Heavy infections can cause serious losses in young squabs.

The small eggs are produced in very large numbers. A specific charac-
teristic is the “polar lumps” on the extremities of the eggs, which are commonly coloured green.

The average size is 50 x 20 micron

Canker BIRDS (Trichomonas Gallinae)
Canker of the crop is caused by a single cell animal (protozoa) termed
a flagellate, so called because of its long flagella (whiskers) that it
uses to move. This parasite can be easily recognised by the jerking
movement of the tail. This is a living creature and moves around
fairly rapidly under the microscope. It is small, measuring
approximately 20 x 10 microns. Older birds may be found to be
carrying this parasite, without sometimes being affected by it.
However, in young birds it is a particularly serious disease.

Coccidia (Emeria).
This disease (coccidiosis) is caused by a single cell animal (Protozoa)
which infests the cells lining the gut of the bird.
If is of interest that these were one of the first microscopic animals
described by Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope in 1674.
In young pigeons severe signs commence 4-5 days after infection.
Infected swabs show loss of appetite, diarrhoea and thirst, the
droppings may be markedly green and blood tinged. In severe
infections there can be a high death rate.
The life cycle of a typical coccidium consist of two phases, one phase
occurs outside the bird where the cysts may survive in dry soil for very
long periods of time even years. After ingestion during feeding, the
second phase involves massive multiplication with extremely large
numbers of easily recognised oocysts in the droppings.

These are much smaller than worm eggs measuring approximately 15 microns
in maximum diameter. They are spherical or oval shaped and appear
as small round balls. In severe infections they may form clusters.
The production of oocycsts in the ANIMAL varies with the time of day,
most being passed by the bird from 9.00 am to 3.