Egg Counts and Coccidians – Controlling Coccidiosis in Cattle and Sheep

Egg Counts and Coccidians – Controlling Coccidiosis in Cattle and Sheep

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease caused by single-celled coccidian parasites. Though there are several species of coccidian protozoa, all must get inside the cells lining the intestines of their host to reproduce.

Coccidians spread when their eggs (oocysts) shed with their host’s faeces contaminating the food of other potential hosts. Mainly associated with poultry, infected birds suffer enteritis with blood stained diarrhoea, becoming lethargic, anaemic and showing a generally degraded condition.

Distinguishing between coccidiosis and similar symptoms

Poultry coccidians don’t infect farm mammals, nor do the cow and sheep equivalents infect chickens and waterfowl. In birds, veterinary microscopy of tissue from the characteristically swollen intestines of confirms coccidian infection. In sheep and cows, distinguishing between coccidiosis and similar symptoms of colibacilliosis, cryptospiridiosis, coronovirus, rotavirus and bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) can require further veterinary laboratory investigation.

Veterinary diagnostic kits equip busy vets with a fast and reliable answer to the question of which parasite is responsible for the observed symptoms. Vetlab’s FASTest kits provide accurate, early diagnosis even in the field allowing treatment and preventative measures to begin immediately.

Using histological staining techniques

Where coccidiosis is indicated, faecal oocyst counts can give an estimate of the level of infection. Faecal egg count flotation solutions, Ovatube detection kits and smooth, quiet veterinary centrifuges make oocyst recovery quick and clean. Veterinary microscopes and histological staining techniques support the quantitation and identification of particular coccidian species.

In recent years, histological and egg count surveys have estimated the coccidian infection rate of cattle to be about 20%. However, not all species of coccidians cause disease, and a heavy oocyte burden doesn’t always indicate a clinically significant infection.

The risk is especially high where many animals are confined

Sever coccidiosis in calves and lambs can result in life-threatening dehydration. Infection usually follows from ingestion of oocyte-infected faeces or contaminated food. The risk is especially high where many animals are confined in faeces-soiled enclosures or where young animals are grazed on land contaminated by material from hosting adults.

The exception to coccidian species specificity is Toxoplasma gondii. T.gondii reaches maturity and reproduces only in cats, where it causes more serious symptoms. Toxoplasmosis only rarely causes illness in humans and generally only in immunologically weakened dogs.

T.gondii oocysts in faeces from roaming cats can initiate abortion or foetal reabsorption in sheep. The veterinary response to this commercial risk includes vaccination, husbandry and animal-health expertise with quick detection and diagnosis with the FASTest Toxoplasmosis g diagnostic kit.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or Telephone: 01798 874567

Big Five Parasite Safari: Tracking the Life that Lives On and In Your Pet

Big Five Parasite Safari: Tracking the Life that Lives On and In Your Pet

Tracking the ‘Big Five’ usually means a safari for lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino in the wilds of Africa. Your vet can help you track-down the big five pet-parasites with Veterinary Diagnostics, Microscopy and Statspin Ovatube Parasite Detection System.

On the pet parasite safari, the big five are the Intestinal Worms, Lung Worms, Heart Worms, Ticks and Fleas that love to live on and in the animals that share your home.

Heavy infestations get tangled together and block your pet’s digestive system

Intestinal worms come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Hook Worms, Round Worms, Whip Worms and Tape Worms all effectively starve your pet from the inside out. Heavy infestations get tangled together and block your pet’s digestive system.

Lungworms start life in snails, which leave a trail of infected slime that your pets can lick off their paws. Once in your pet’s lungs, they cause congestion, difficulty breathing, coughing and exhaustion. About 10% of lungworm infections prove fatal.

Heartworms get into your pet from mosquito bites. In your pet’s heart, they block the flow of blood. Your pet’s heart has to work much harder to pump blood around the body, which can lead to heart failure.

Ticks carry the microbes that cause serious diseases including Lymes disease

Ticks and Fleas live in the fur and skin feeding on your pet’s blood. Fleas cause skin irritations and transmit the most common tapeworms that infect cats and dogs. Ticks carry the microbes that cause serious diseases including Lymes disease and the new threat, Babesiosis.

Many of the big five parasites also live in the wild animal population. Some are much more common in the wild and pet populations of other countries. Avoiding infection demands constant monitoring and protection of your pet, especially if you’re taking your dog or cat abroad for the summer. Another concern is that some of these diseases can be passed to humans.

The holiday season increases the risk of travel-related infections

Warmer weather encourages fleas and ticks, and the holiday season increases the risk of travel-related infections. Taking action to hunt down potentially deadly infestations is best begun sooner rather than later.

Your vet has all the information, products and treatments to protect your pet from the big five parasites. Veterinary diagnostic kits quickly detect parasite infections such as Lymes disease, Babesiosis. Veterinary Microscopy identifies internal worms while specialist techniques such as Statspin Ovatube Parasite Detection System will uncover the extent of any infestation discovered.



What’s Eating Your Pet? Diagnosing Dermophytosis, Ringworm and Fungal Skin Diseases with Mykodermoassay-Trio

What’s Eating Your Pet? Diagnosing Dermophytosis, Ringworm and Fungal Skin Diseases with Mykodermoassay-Trio

Ringworm is a dermophytic fungus that eats skin, hair, horn and claws in companion and commercial animals. Rapid veterinary diagnosis of dermophyte infection is the first step toward identifying, treating and eradicating fungal skin diseases.

Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is distressing to pet owners. Not a worm at all, the classic bald patches and circles of reddened skin with flaking dandruff is caused by a fungus that feeds on the keratin protein of skin, hair and claws.

In cases of dermatophytosis, the usual suspects are the Microsporum fungi: M.canis, M.gypseum, M.persicolor, the Trichophytons: T.verrucosum, T.mentagrophytes and the Epidermophytons.

Ringworm infection is spread through skin flakes from infected animals and can be transmitted to humans. These flakes carry fungal spores called conidia. Conidia are resistant to antimicrobial treatments such as chloramphenicol and cycloheximide.

The size and shape of conidia enable the veterinary laboratory to identify the species of fungus. But first, vets need a fast and reliable diagnostic test to distinguish dermophytic fungal infection from other fungi and bacteria.

Mykodermoassay-Trio features three purpose-optimised fungal growth media

Mykodermoassay-Trio features three purpose-optimised fungal growth media on a single petri dish test-plate. Divided into three sectors, the time-saving diagnostic provides SAB/SDA, DTM and ESA media in separate agar-based fungal growth environments.

The Sabouraud (SAB/SDA) agar sector encourages fungal growth while subduing the growth of bacteria that might otherwise complicate interpretation. The gel’s optical clarity enhances visual inspection and macro-identification of fungal colonies.

The Dermatophyte Test Media (DTM) inhibits bacteria and non-dermophytes by the inclusion of chloramphenicol and cycloheximide. Phenol red pH indicator confirms any alkaline waste products characteristic of dermophytic fungi with an orange to red colour change.

Clarity enhances species identification 

The Enhanced Sporulation Agar (ESA) sector, optimised for spore formation, includes the pH indicator bromophenol blue. A colour change from yellow to green-blue further supports the presence of dermophyte fungi. The gel’s clarity enhances species identification by veterinary microscopy.

Mykodermoassay-Trio provides for reliable interpretation in only 2 to 3 days. And performs equally well with samples of hair roots, dandruff, scabs and skin scrapings. Finally, a long fridge life of up to 24 months makes Mykodermoassay a convenient and cost-effective method for reassuring pet owners that their pet’s skin and fur will soon be off the menu for ringworm fungus.

McMaster Faecal Egg Count (FEC) Monitoring Of Tapeworm Infestation

McMaster Faecal Egg Count (FEC) Monitoring Of Tapeworm Infestation

Checking the faeces of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and the UK’s growing lama and alpaca herd for tapeworm eggs is a tried and tested method for monitoring gastrointestinal parasite infestation.

McMaster Slide Faecal Egg Count Technique

Since 1939, the McMaster Slide Faecal Egg Count Technique has provided veterinary laboratories with a means of quantifying the number of parasite eggs in a faecal sample. The principle is simple and based on knowing the number of faeces tested, the volume of Faecal Flotation Solution used to suspend the sample, and the number of tapeworm eggs (oocysts) counted in the microscopic examination of a known volume of sample suspension.

By taking into account factors such as the likely uneven distribution of oocysts in a faecal sample and variation in tapeworm egg production due to season, habitat and the hormonal state of the host animal, the ‘tapeworm burden’ in the animal can be estimated.

An absence of tapeworm eggs in a single test might not mean that the host is tapeworm-free. It might be that the infestation is made up of immature parasites, or that there is some resistance in the host that is suppressing parasite egg production.

Identifying a particular parasite

With practice and experience in veterinary microscopy, the diagnostic veterinary laboratory scientist will even be able to identify the particular parasite infecting an animal by recognising the specific oocytes of Trichostrongyle, Nemitodorus, Eimeria and other invasive species.

Some gastrointestinal worms are particular to certain hosts, making FEC a useful tool in monitoring trends in animal diseases. Of current interest is Nematodirus lamae, a parasite of alpaca and other camel-related animals. This worm had not previously been seen in animals outside of South Africa, only recently being found in an alpaca in the UK.

The importance of constant faecal egg monitoring

Constant faecal egg monitoring of dairy herds, sheep and horses is important as the parasites use intermediate hosts, making complete eradication almost impossible. In horses, a grass dwelling oribatid mite can harbour the parasitic Anoplocephala perfoliata tapeworm, present in even in well-managed fields and paddocks.

Critical to accurate faecal egg counts is the Faecal Flotation Solution, which must be of the correct specific gravity (S.G. or density) to separate the parasite oocysts from the animal faeces. Because different parasites require different specific gravity solutions, Vetlab Supplies offers bespoke and off-the-shelf faecal flotation solutions in 1 and 5-litre volumes saving your veterinary laboratory time, hassle and money while increasing reliability and accuracy.

If You Haven’t Yet Heard About Canine Leishmaniosis…

If You Haven’t Yet Heard About Canine Leishmaniosis…

If you haven’t yet heard about canine leishmaniosis (Canl or CaniLeish), one thing is certain – you will, and very soon. Here’s why your vet might need to test for Leishmania, and what you can do to protect your dog when travelling abroad in high-risk areas.

In the same way, the malaria microbe Plasmodium uses mosquitoes to transfer between victims, Leishmania microbes use sandflies to infect dogs, other animals and humans.

Temperatures before climate warming

Before climate warming, British dog owners travelling in northern Europe could be sure that leishmaniosis wouldn’t be a problem. Blood-sucking sandflies need temperatures above 15.6oC for at least three months of the year and can’t easily survive winters below 10oC. The rise in average temperatures means that sandflies now range throughout Spain, Italy, southern and central France and even as far as the French coast of the English Channel.

Travelling with your dog in any of these countries means you need to be aware of the Leishmaniosis risk, especially as infection can be hard to spot, with symptoms developing only months or even years later.

Leishmania infiltrates the defending white blood cells

Once in your dog’s bloodstream, Leishmania infiltrates the defending white blood cells. Infected white cells carry the invaders into your dogs liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Eventually, your dog might develop skin sores or become more and more lethargic or feverish. Bleeding from the nose, lameness and kidney failure might also follow.

A number of treatments for Leishmaniosis are available but require long courses of medication. Large-scale attempts to control sandflies has so far proved ineffective, and the long-term effectiveness of the available CaniLeish vaccines is still uncertain.

Stay Safe – Steer Clear of Sandflies

For now, the most reliable protection your dog has when travelling in high-risk Leishmaniosis infected areas is you.

Keep your dog indoors at dusk and overnight when sandflies are feeding, especially during the high-risk months of April to November. Use mosquito nets on windows and doors and insecticide room sprays and collars as recommended by your vet. Avoid exposing your dog to the dank and stagnant swamps where sandflies breed.

If you think your dog might have been exposed to sandflies or shows symptoms of Leishmaniosis, visit your vet as soon as possible. Using a quick and accurate veterinary diagnostic test such as the reliable Megacor FASTest®LEISH your vet be able to put your mind at rest or get that crucial early start on the best course of treatment for your dog.

Your Tick Prevention Tick List

Your Tick Prevention Tick List

Britain’s biggest veterinary survey of blood-sucking tick infection shows that 1 in 3 dogs could harbour this disease-carrying parasite.

When you’re out with your dog in the countryside, your dog could be at risk of picking up a hitch-hiker unawares. Britain’s changing climate means that blood-sucking ticks are on the increase and looking for a free ride and a free meal on your dog and even on you.

So how to cut the risk of picking up a disease-carrying tick, how to spot when your dog has one and what to do about it? Here’s your simple 5 point tick-list to help avoid, find and treat ticks on your dog.

  • Be Aware of Where Ticks Live

Ticks suck the blood of other animals such as deer and cattle. Blood-thirsty ticks climb to the top of tall grass or bracken to wait for a meal opportunity to pass by. Always be wary when walking your dogs among high vegetation on pasture and grazed land that ticks might be present.

  • Be Prepared For Ticks

Ticks aren’t fleas but both can be killed by the same kinds of medication. Your vet will be able to tell you the best anti-tick and flea treatment or collar for your dog so that you’re well defended should a tick try and make a meal of your pet.

  • Be On The Look-Out For Ticks

After a stroll in the park or countryside check your dog for small hard lumps in the coat. Ticks feel like very small flecks of gravel and might be in the fur, or closer to the skin. If they’re in the fur, you can tease them out. But if they’ve already attached themselves to your dog’s skin, don’t try to pull them off – they break, leaving their vicious mouth-parts embedded in your dog.

  • Be Ready To Take Quick Action

Your Vet is the expert in treating ticks and the diseases ticks carry. If you think your dog’s picked up a tick, see your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will safely remove any tick and advise you how to tackle ticks in the future. If your dog might be infected with Lymes Disease or other diseases carried by ticks, your vet will have a veterinary diagnostic test kit to determine whether or not your dog might be infected.

  • Be Tick-Proof At Home

Remember, ticks can be brought into your own outdoor space by wild animals and even into your home by other dogs. Ask your vet about tick-prevention treatments to keep your loved pet safe at home as well as out and about in the countryside.




1 in 3 UK Dogs Carry Blood-Sucking Ticks

1 in 3 UK Dogs Carry Blood-Sucking Ticks

In the UK’s biggest ever study of ticks and tick-borne diseases, veterinary laboratory scientists at Bristol University signed up more than 1400 local vets and their canine clients.

Between April and July 2015, the months when parasitic ticks are most active, vets examined over 14,000 dogs reporting that nearly 30% were found to carry blood-sucking ticks potentially infected with deadly dog diseases including Lymes Disease, Anaplasmosis and the new threat, Canine Babesiosis.

Blood-sucking ticks are significantly more abundant and more widespread than 10 years ago

Fronted by BBC wildlife presenter and naturalist, Chris Packham, the project showed that blood-sucking ticks are significantly more abundant and more widespread than 10 years ago. Although relatively few ticks are infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum – a blood parasite causing symptoms including fever, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs, the increasing number of ticks not only means an increased risk of Anaplasmosis, but also of Borrelia infection – the microbe that causes Borreliosis, commonly called Lymes Disease.

Lymes Disease can also cause serious illness in humans with between 2,000 and 3,000 people in England and Wales newly infected each year and about 1 in 8 picking up the disease while travelling abroad. Treatable with antibiotics if caught early enough, serious flu-like symptoms including painful joints, together with the nervous system and heart problems, can develop if treatment is delayed.

This new invader carries the potentially fatal dog disease Babesiosis which attacks the dog’s red blood cells

90% of dogs with ticks were found to have the common UK variety, Ixodes ricinus. However, a number of dogs in Southwest England and Wales were found to carry the continental Brown Tick, Dermacentor reticulatus. This new invader carries the potentially fatal dog disease Babesiosis which attacks the dog’s red blood cells and shows in red/brown urine, fever and jaundice.

Be aware, avoid and act

The best way to protect your dog from Borreliosis (Lymes Disease), Anaplasmosis and the new scourge, Babesiosis is to be aware, avoid and quickly act against carrying ticks:

  • Aware: Tick and flea collars and skin treatments are a must to protect your dog – especially when out and about in tall grass and bracken shared with deer and livestock.
  • Avoid: Always keep a look out for ticks in the home and inspect your dog thoroughly and regularly for small hard lumps that might be a tick.
  • Act: Your vet will show you how to remove ticks quickly and safely, and offer a full range of veterinary diagnostic tests to determine whether or not your pet might have become infected with a tick-borne disease enabling potentially life-saving treatment to begin right away.

So you’ve wormed your cat, dog or even hedgehog. But has it worked?

So you’ve wormed your cat, dog or even hedgehog. But has it worked?

StatSpin OvaTube – Parasite Detection Test

Parasite eggs, in the faeces of companion animals, is the simplest tell-tale sign that your cat, dog or rescued hedgehog has a potentially weakening parasite infestation. Your veterinary laboratory can quickly find, identify and count parasite eggs and oocytes with the StatSpin OvaTube diagnostic kit.

Keeping companion animals free from intestinal parasites has always been acknowledged as fundamental to their health and well being. Wildlife rescue centres and animal sanctuaries too are increasingly aware of the need to test for gut parasites, medicate where necessary and monitor constantly.

Centrifugal Flotation Speeds Up The Separation 

Before the built-in convenience of the StatSpin OvaTube, finding any parasite eggs and getting them out of the animal’s faeces was a long and dirty job, not exactly popular with veterinary technicians and animal sanctuary workers. Gravity Flotation, where a sample of faeces is mixed with a solution midway in density between faeces and eggs took up a lot of laboratory time. Centrifugal Flotation speeded up the separation of the denser faeces from less dense eggs but demanded an expensive, specialised a centrifuge.

The StatSpin kit not only speeds up the flotation process, using only a standard veterinary centrifuge, it completely eliminates the need to handle the faeces at any time from taking the sample to reading the microscope slide. And, if you haven’t got a laboratory centrifuge, you can still recover the parasite eggs by Gravity Flotation by just standing the tubes for 15 minutes.

Just A Few Minutes In A Centrifuge

StatSpin oocyte recovery starts with a small plastic coring tool, which cuts a plug of material from the animal’s faeces. This is mashed with flotation fluid in the plastic separation tube. A few minutes in a centrifuge, or a while longer by gravity, sends the heavier faeces to the bottom while the lighter eggs float to the top. Brief contact between a microscope coverslip and the fluid at the top of the tube is enough to transfer the floating eggs for examination and counting under the microscope.

For animal sanctuaries, charities and rescue centres, tailor-made flotation solutions and microscope transfer slides complement the 10-test and economical 50-test kits and make for cost-effective assessment of an animal’s health before and after anti-parasite treatment. For the busy veterinary practice, the speed and convenience of the centrifuge mediated test means that a diagnosis can often be made and treatment prescribed while the patient is still at the practice.

Contact our expert team for further guidance. Also, take a look at our full range of diagnostic kits.

Sure and Simple Colour Test Helps Vets Guard Dogs and Cats from Giardia.

Sure and Simple Colour Test Helps Vets Guard Dogs and Cats from Giardia.

FASTest Giardia Strip

Because FASTest Giardia Strip needs no refrigeration and no veterinary laboratory facilities, you can test for Giardia duodenalis in dogs and cats quickly, reliably and anywhere your vet practice needs you to go.

Diarrhoea, loss of appetite and weakening growth are among the most common symptoms found in ailing dogs and cats. Faced with a distraught owner and their much-loved pet, as their trusted vet, you can find yourself under considerable pressure to come up with the correct diagnosis right away. Determining if the suffering animal has a relatively minor infection, or something more serious and contagious, can be of critical importance – especially when there might be health implications for the animal’s human owners and their families.

Contaminated food and water

One of the most common diseases with a high risk of infecting other animals and occasionally humans is the intestinal parasite Giardia duodenalis. Most common in pups and kittens between six and twelve weeks old, the microscopic parasite finds its way into new hosts through food and water contaminated by faeces from infected animals. As with most treatable animal diseases, prevention is better than cure. Pets kept in a clean, faeces free environment, and prevented from drinking muddy water that other animals have contaminated, are much less likely to suffer from symptoms of Giardiasis.

Confirmation of Giardiasis is sure and simple with Vetlab’s exclusive Megacor FASTest Giardia Strip. Because it’s entirely self-contained, needs no refrigeration, incubation or laboratory equipment, the test can be carried out at your practice or on your client’s premises. After adding a small sample of dog or cat faeces to the test reagent, a drop of the mixture is spotted onto the test strip. After just five minutes, an obvious blue line appears to prove the test is working properly. If a solid red line also appears, then the test is positive for the infective ‘oocysts’ (parasite eggs) that hatch out into the ‘trophozoites’ (feeding organisms) which will cause the symptoms of Giardia.

Giardia Strip – simple, clear and easy to use

The simplicity of the test, clarity of the positive result and the robustness of the kit itself makes the Giardia Strip one of the most popular and widely used of Vetlab’s exclusive Megacor Diagnostics range. Used extensively in both veterinary practices and commercial veterinary laboratories, the test finds its niche in facilities needing a quick, reliable and cost-effective test, and in which pet owners and practitioners can have complete confidence.

Travelling Abroad with your pet – Protect your pet, Protect yourself.

Travelling Abroad with your pet – Protect your pet, Protect yourself.

Zoonotic Potential is not a phrase you’d expect to use everyday – unless you’re a vet, but it’s one that’s set to have a greater impact on you, your health and your pet’s health, especially if you enjoy the company of your pet when you travel abroad.

Since July 2004 it’s been relatively easy to travel to and from the UK without leaving your pet at home or enduring the long separation of enforced quarantine. Now all you need is to have your pet microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, treated for tapeworm – if your pet’s a dog, and have all this recorded in your pet’s passport.

Thanks to advances in electronic and medical technology, it’s now simple and straightforward to safely take your pet with you on holidays and even business trips abroad. But it’s what your pet might bring back from its travels – and might, potentially pass on to you and your family, that’s starting to worry UK vets.

Pets and their owners travelling further afield

Zoonotic Potential is how your vet describes the chance that your pet might pick up a disease and then pass it on to you. Compared to many countries, the UK is exceptionally free from serious and life-threatening diseases of both humans and their pets. But as pets and their owners travel further afield, the chance of encountering and bringing home such a disease can only increase.

Of special concern to vets are so called ‘vector-borne’ diseases. These are parasites and infections transmitted between animals by intermediaries such as fleas, mites, ticks and biting insects. This means that even though you might think you’ve kept your pet away from other, possibly infected, animals and food, you can’t be sure your pet hasn’t picked up a disease-carrying vector.

Diagnostic Test Kits for Insect Borne Diseases

As usual, prevention is better than cure. Your vet can provide you with the best applications and treatments to stop nasty, disease infested, hitchhikers getting a free ride on your pet. Your vet will also advise you on the precautions you and your pet should take while you’re abroad.

But if, when you get home, your pet shows symptoms of being less than 100%, then visit your vet right away. Early testing of your pet with Vetlab Supplies Diagnostic Kits for insect borne diseases including Leishmaniasis and the tick borne Anaplasmosis will not only give a prompt diagnosis and the right treatment for your pet, it will also reduce any Zoonotic Potential risk to you and your family.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: or Telephone: 01798 874567

COVID-19 Update

As the impact of COVID-19, is being felt around the world, the well-being of our employees and their families is of the highest importance to us.

By putting the safety of our employees first, we have reduced our on-site staff to a minimum and we will endeavour to maintain our business operations to the highest standard possible.

We are carefully monitoring and following official guidance from the UK Government, Public Health England, WHO and CDC guidelines and in line with these; we are currently operating business as usual.

We are monitoring our stock levels on a daily basis ensuring a fair distribution of our products. We are fully committed to maintaining the supply of products during these unprecedented times.

We are open for orders from Monday through to Thursday and closing on Fridays:

Friday Closure:  For any technical queries, orders or enquiries please do one of the following:
• Email:
• Fax: 01798 874787
• Telephone & leave a message: 01798 874567

We will endeavour to contact you on Friday and Monday if it is non-urgent.

If you require any further information, please contact Vetlab Supplies Ltd Customer Services on 01798 874567 or email

Thank you to all our customers and suppliers for their support during these temporary measures.

Stay Safe