Avian Parasites What do my Results Mean?

A worm egg count monitors adult, egg laying parasite infections and is a very good test to detect type and burden and guide treatment regimens. Targeting treatment in this way helps to slow wormer resistance and exposure to unnecessary chemicals.

At Westgate Labs we use the Modified MacMaster technique for carrying out worm egg counts. We takes a measured amount of dung through a process to extract and float off any eggs present. This substrate is examined under the microscope by a trained technician to determine type and a statistical result of eggs seen per gram of faeces for any eggs identified.

The sign < means less than so a result of <25 e.p.g. or <50 e.p.g. means no eggs were seen in the sample. We can't say zero because of the multiplication factor of the test.

Gastrointestinal & Gapeworms

Up to 200 e.p.g. is a LOW count, Healthy birds can generally deal well with a low level of parasite infection, there is no need to worm at this level unless Hairworm (Capillaria) Ceacal worm (Heterakis) or Tapeworm is seen, in which case treatment is advised. (Although Heterakis itself is harmless it can be a carrier for the parasite that causes Blackhead.)

Between 200 e.p.g. and 1200 e.p.g . is a MEDIUM count and the birds needs worming.

Over 1200 e.p.g. is a HIGH count, the birds need worming and the programme/husbandry needs attention.

Coccidial Oocysts

While the number of coccidial oocysts relates to burden of infection, relatively high levels may be seen in dung samples without disease being present. Monitor infection levels, look out for symptoms of disease and consult your vet where necessary.

<5000 e.p.g. no need to treat

5000 – 50000 e.p.g. worth consulting with your vet and looking out for loose droppings and other symptoms.

>50,000 e.p.g. disease usually present, consult your vet.

epg = eggs per gram

For more information: Avian Parasite Treatment Options