Parasite Testing

Anyone who follows us on Facebook or Instagram has seen me post about the new parasite tests that are available. I want to take this opportunity to explain a bit more about what we are looking for and why.  Parasite testing focuses on finding parasite infections that you cannot see looking at the stool with the naked eye.

Our old parasite testing was called a fecal float. It looks for eggs from worms as well as single celled parasites. The problem is that worms don’t produce eggs all the time. That means that some infections were missed because there did not happen to be any eggs in the sample that we tested. Years ago this was the only tool we had to test for parasites – not perfect but better than not looking at all. Fecal floatation is still useful in detecting coccidia (a single celled parasite) infections. It can also identify the presence of yeast, pollen and mites in the stool.

Now when we submit parasite testing in addition to the fecal float we are also testing for parasite antigens. Antigens are small proteins that are on the outside of worms. Different types of worms make different proteins which can then be identified. We can then identify the presence of worms that may not have started producing eggs or infections that only involve male worms that will not produce eggs.

Together these tests are the most accurate currently available. When it comes to parasites we want the best available test so that we can protect the health of our furry and human friends. Below are the results from one of our patients (used with permission). If we had not have used the most advanced test available we would have missed the diagnosis in this patient – she would not have received proper treatment and we may have proceeded to more testing which would have been unnecessary and costly.





Test Result Reference Range Low Normal High

OVA & PARASITES                                No parasite found

GIARDIA ANTIGEN ELISA                    Negative

WHIPWORM AG ELISA                         Negative


HOOKWORM AG ELISA                       Negative


About the Author

Dr Elizabeth LaytonView all posts by Dr Elizabeth Layton
Dr Layton graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 2005 and began work in mixed animal practice. Dr. Layton’s special interest is dentistry but she enjoys a variety of internal medicine and surgical cases.


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