FAQs

Q: Which parasite test should I order?
A: There are three levels of testing: Bronze, Silver and Gold. These have been named this way to better explain the levels of likeliness of parasite detection (or sensitivity).
Bronze level includes direct wet mounts. It is a cost effective way to test a reptile and gives us an idea of parasites present 
and has the lowest sensitivity, meaning that the probability of detection is the lowest of the three available tests. 
Silver level includes direct wet mounts and McMaster flotation which increases the probability of detection (sensitivity). If pinworms are present these are also counted and a result is given in eggs per gram. Other parasites are not reported in eggs per gram as there are no studies (other than pinworms in tortoises) to show their meaning. This is ideal for routine testing and for monitoring of pinworm egg numbers.
Gold level includes direct wet mounts, flotation techniques (McMaster and centrifugal). Centrifugal flotation is the highest sensitivity testing according to The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC). Gold level also includes specific staining for Cryptosporidia species which are detected relatively frequently in lizards, snakes and tortoises. This test is ideal for new reptiles or for those presenting symptoms.

 

Test Levels

 

Detection Probability

 

Pinworm Count

 

Cryptosporidia

Bronze (R-PS)

+    

Silver (R-PT)

++ +  

Gold (R-CPT)

+++ + +

 

Q: Why choose us over others?
A: Veterinary laboratories generally run many samples for cats, dogs and other animals, they have very expensive equipment and standardised tests and extremely efficient quality control is generally practised. It is extremely difficult to have somebody that specialises in every single field and even more unlikely that a large laboratory would have a veterinary surgeon specialising in reptile parasitology - reason for which we are quite unique. Many small entities started off by running worm counts for horses or farm animals and although laboratory technicians may well be experienced, qualified veterinary staff working towards the ever growing field of reptile parasitology and understanding reptile pathology are a rarity. The interpretation of the results to establish the clinical relevance is what makes us different.

Q: What do I do if I have multiple reptiles housed together?
A: It is not a problem, just let us know the details on the "relevant information" block during checkout and also on the form that you receive through the post. A group of Leopard tortoises or Leopard geckos housed together for a long time for example is the ideal "group testing", albeit, the more samples pooled in to one for group testing, the higher risk of false negative results. If multiple species are housed together or the same species have been together for a short period then there is a higher risk of false negative results.

Q: Could I get a discount if I send many samples?
A: Special prices on multiple animals may be considered especially for veterinary practices, rescues, shops and breeders. Just contact us with the specifics on the "contact" page and we shall get back to you.

Q: Why shouldn't I just treat with preventative treatment in my reptile as I do in my dog or cat?
It may be easy to order products and treat reptiles for potential parasite infestations, either to save money or simply because we routinely do it with our cats and dogs, BUT this is not recommended. Relatively new studies have taught us that parasitic resistance and toxic effects are the reasons why this should be avoided. Radiomimmetic effects with fenbendazole use (probably the antiparasitic treatment most frequently used) have been reported in many species. This may cause gastrointestinal and bone marrow destruction with devastating consequences. These products should be used once treatment necessity has been established and dosage precautions should be taken in to account by a specialist.

Q: How should I store the sample?
If he sample is fresh then there is no need to store in the fridge as this would reduce motility of specific parasites - a cool room is fine. It is important to send a fresh moist sample as dry samples will disrupt parasitic forms and increase false negatives. A few drops of cooled boiled water can be added to maintain humidity.

Q: What is a pooled sample and how should I collect it?
A: We ask for a pooled sample which means that multiple faecal samples are collected. Ideally 3 samples should be collected with a representative sample of each added to the container supplied. Intermittent shedding may occur with certain parasites so this increases the likeliness of detection and therefore reducing the possibility of false negative results.
The chalky white or grey substance that is often passed with faeces are the urates and these are not required for the testing process. For some species or individuals it may be difficult to obtain 3 samples, often due to voiding frequency. In these cases we will accept just 1 or 2 samples because waiting longer may invalidate the previous collected samples.

Q: What is the minumum sample that I can send?
A:
A minimum amount is necessary for each process performed. Ideally collect a samle that fills the pot provided. If an insufficient sample is received we will prioritize which tests are performed ie flotation techniques over pinworm count.