Effects of homogenizing methods on accuracy and precision of equine strongylid egg counts

H. A. Went, J. A. Scare, A. E. Steuer, M. K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recommendations for control of equine strongylid parasites are based on regular determination of fecal egg counts to identify high strongylid shedders and to evaluate treatment efficacy. The McMaster technique has long been used as the standard egg counting technique in equine veterinary practice in most parts of the world, but recent work has found the Mini-FLOTAC technique to perform with significantly better accuracy and precision. The Mini-FLOTAC system comes with a homogenizing device, termed the Fill-FLOTAC, and it has been hypothesized that this device might have a significant impact on accuracy and precision. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of the Fill-FLOTAC homogenizer in comparison with the classical McMaster approach, where samples are suspended in flotation medium by stirring with tongue depressor in a plastic cup. The study compared the McMaster and Mini-FLOTAC techniques, but also included cross-over versions where the Fill-FLOTAC was used with the McMaster chamber, and the tongue depressor and plastic cup homogenizing method was used with the Mini-FLOTAC counting disc. Fecal samples were collected from horses naturally infected with mixed strongylid species. Five samples were included from each of the following egg count levels: 0–500, 501–1000, and >1000 eggs per gram (EPG). Each sample was then analyzed with all four set-ups with three subsamples collected from the same suspension, and three repeated counts determined on each subsample. Both the Fill-FLOTAC homogenizer (p = 0.0098) and the McMaster counting chamber (p = 0.0298) were significantly associated with higher strongylid egg counts, whereas the Mini-FLOTAC chamber was associated with a lower coefficient of variation (p < 0.0001). Precision, however, was not associated with homogenization method (p = 0.9341). Taken together, this study suggests that while the homogenizing method has a positive effect on egg count accuracy, the counting chamber appears to primarily affect precision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Accuracy
  • Equine
  • Fill-FLOTAC
  • Mini-FLOTAC
  • Precision
  • Strongylid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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