Optimize intestinal parasite detection with centrifugal fecal flotation - Veterinary Medicine
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Optimize intestinal parasite detection with centrifugal fecal flotation
If you're not using this technique, you may be overlooking parasitic, and potentially zoonotic, disease. Centrifugation has a higher sensitivity in detecting parasites than simple flotation. And a centrifuge is less expensive and cumbersome than many practitioners think.


To examine the coverslip, start at one corner and move systematically through the sample (Figure 10). Focus up and down as you move through the sample, unless you suspect a parasite of particular size. If this is the case, you may concentrate your efforts at the layer in which that parasite is found. Examine the entire coverslip with the 10 objective lens (total magnification 100). Small parasites or other objects should then be examined with the 40 objective lens (total magnification 400). Do not use the 100 (oil immersion) objective lens to examine fecal flotation slides. Some laboratories will spot-check five to 10 fields in the center of the slide using 400 magnification to ensure that very small parasites are not overlooked. This certainly is a viable option, although we do not recommend it as a routine procedure in the clinic since questionable small objects will be examined at a higher magnification anyway.

Byron L. Blagburn, MS, PhD
Jamie M. Butler, BS
Department of Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849-5519


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2. Dryden MW, Payne PA, Ridley R, et al. Comparison of common fecal flotation techniques for the recovery of parasite eggs and oocysts. Vet Ther 2005;6:15-28.

3. Dryden MW, Payne PA, Smith V. Accurate diagnosis of Giardia spp and proper fecal examination procedures. Vet Ther 2006;7:4-14.

4. Payne PA, Dryden MW. Accurate evaluation of fecal samples critical to patient. DVM Best Practices 2003;Mar:8-11.


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