A worm egg count (WEC), or faecal egg count (FEC) as it used to be called, is a laboratory procedure used to calculate the worm burden of any individual animal(s) or a set number of the mob or herd (Pooled Test). It identifies how many eggs per gram are in the animals faeces and so it corresponds to the number of adult egg laying worms in the animals' gastro-intestinal tract. It is essential information that you need to know before you can implement a successful de-worming program.

Faecal egg counting can be performed on animals in two ways:

Individual Worm Egg Count (15 individual samples)

Faecal samples are collected in containers from individual animals and each sample is tested. The test results will provide you with information about the numbers of strongyle worm eggs present in the dung of the individual animal(s) and the variability within the mob or herd. This is most useful when determining whether treatment is required or when doing a post drench check (10 days after drenching) to test the effectiveness of the drench.    

Pooled Worm Egg Count (3 pooled samples)

In this test, 15 individual samples are collected in containers from 15 animals and then these results are pooled at the lab into 3 groups of 5 animals in each group to give a mob average number. This is a cost effective technique, most useful for monitoring trends in a mob or herd.

Our laboratory provides a sample collection kit which is available to purchase on the order page. These ‘worm egg counting kits’ include instructions, a test acquisition form, sample containers/bags, gloves and a pre-purchased express mailing pack to return your samples to the laboratory for testing. The samples will be processed within 24 hours of arriving at the lab.

Collection information

The life cycle of worms on your property

worm life cycle

It doesn't matter whether you have sheep, cattle, horses, goats, alpacas, llamas or whatever. All grazing animals are subsceptible to worms. Some animals are high shedders. Some animals have natural immunity to worms. The important thing you need to know is which animals need to be treated and which animals don't. Blanket treating all animals with a random worming treatment  NOT testing to find out if (a) it was needed and (b) if it has worked, only leads to problems and anthelmintic treatment resistance over time.