Wormcount.com FAQs

Choosing and ordering

The process is very simple.  You place an order with us and we will dispatch your selected collection kit(s).  You fill the collection pot(s) with the appropriate sample – all kits come with full instructions as to what exactly is required for each screen type. Next you complete a short lab request form and put it in your return padded envelope with the sample.  You need to apply at least a Large Letter 1st class stamp to the envelope and pop it in the post back to us.  Our highly trained analysts undertake the screening in our own laboratory and we email the results to you as soon as the testing is complete. 

There is a same working day turnaround for all worm egg screens, giardia screens and liver fluke screens.  Lungworms screens are an extended process so they are always issued the following working day after arrival into the lab.

We can run worm egg screens and lungworm for every species of animal (except humans!) and will provide tailored results for each animal type.  Please note that the giardia screens are only applicable for dogs or cats. 

Unfortunately we are unable to offer screens on any human samples.  If you are concerned about a human parasite infestation, we recommend that you contact your GP for further advice.

The answer depends on what type of animal you have and what you are trying to achieve from the testing process.  The best way to approach this is to use our designated animal category pages to see which products are available for your type of animal. For full details of what is covered in each screen for each animal type, please see the product pages.  If you are unsure, you are always welcome to contact our friendly team who are on hand to help.

The quickest and easiest way to place an order is via the website, which is available 24 hours a day.  You can pay either using a PayPal account or via most major debit or credit cards.  If you prefer, you can call the office during our opening hours and place an order over the phone with one of our admin team.

We know that getting the kits quickly is very important to you so for this reason, all orders placed before 3pm on a working day (Monday to Friday excluding UK Bank Holidays and any advised closure periods) will be dispatched via first class post that same day.  Any orders placed after this time will be dispatched the next working day.  If you have need for a same-day urgent screen, please contact the office and we may be able to help.

All screens except the giardia screen are open dated, so you can test whenever suits you; now or in the future.  We regularly receive samples in kits that clients have ordered many years ago! Giardia screens have an expiry date which must be adhered to, and it is clearly marked on the lab request form and on the instructions for your kit.  Further information about this can be found on the giardia screen product page.

Obtaining and posting samples

We recommend that the first poo of the day is sampled for each screen.  Please read the instructions carefully for each screen you order, as some require the first poo from multiple days to be collected and some require sample from just one day.  

Each screen type has different requirements, so we recommend that the instructions are very carefully read and followed exactly to ensure that the correct sample is taken. Incorrect sampling could compromise the test results.  Notably a three consecutive day collection period is required for a lungworm screen, so this should be considered when ordering to ensure this is going to be feasible for you to obtain. 

Please send a full sample box wherever possible. Occasionally it is desirable to repeat a test if there is an anomalous result.  Also, regular blind testing is carried out on samples to comply with our strict auditable quality processes.  Our collection kit provides a pot that will hold up to 10-15g of material when full, which varies with the diet of the individual animal and moisture content of the sample.  If there is not enough material provided, then the test result can only be indicative of the actual parasite burden.  Not sending enough sample can seriously compromise the result. 

Reptile samples vary considerably depending on the species, age, size and life-stage of the animal.  Ideally the collection box should be filled.  If this is not practicable (a young Horsfield tortoise may only produce a fraction of a gram, for example) then a collection over 2 – 3 days may be submitted.  Samples taken from a bath are acceptable, but please try to limit the amount of bath water that is included. 

The worm egg screen, lungworm and giardia sample kits are designed for one animal.  This is for two reasons; firstly, the amount of material contained in the full box gives the optimum opportunity for parasite recovery.  If more than one adult animal’s faeces are enclosed in the box, it cuts down the amount available from each animal meaning the results may not be representative of every animal in the pool.  Secondly, If the pooled sample flags up an issue you will not know which animal is affected and you will potentially end up having to rescreen the individuals – especially if it is a precursor to a significant health issue. Often, it is not necessary to treat all animals if one in a household is infested as many parasites are not passed on directly from animal to animal. 

The only time a pooled sample would be accepted is for puppies or kittens up to 3 weeks old or two birds housed together.

For livestock who are of the same species, live/graze together, are of similar ages and the same reproductive status, we offer a ‘Herd and Flock’ screen.  This screen is not appropriate for domestic animals for the reasons listed above. Please refer to the Farm Animal page for further information.

Lungworm screen samples are comprised of three consecutive days of faecal material.  We recommend that the sample is posted on the last day of sample collection, but this means that there will be two days of storing the samples.  We recommend that they are stored sealed up, at room temperature.  Most importantly the lungworm screen samples must not be stored in the fridge (or outside if it is below fridge temperature) and should not be stored near food or where children can reach them.  You should also avoid leaving the samples exposed in areas of direct sunlight or where they could become contaminated by outside influences. 

If you order a combined screen you are welcome to use the tests individually or together, whichever works best for you.  If you choose to use them at the same time, the best way to organise sample collection is to collect the lungworm screen from three consecutive days and then on the final day also take a sample for the worm egg screen and fill that box too.  This way, all samples are as fresh as possible when they are posted.

Lungworm screen samples must comprise three consecutive days of material.   This is very important as it is due to the shedding pattern of the worms.  If you accidentally miss a day out this will compromise the screen so it is best to throw away what you have, and start the collection period again. You can empty the box and reuse it as long as it is for the same animal.

If your animal does not pass faeces every day, and you are 100% sure that you have not just missed it, you can collect from the next day in lieu of the day they did not go.  If there is any chance that they could have gone and you just did not see it, we strongly recommend that you start the collection period again, to avoid compromising the results.

The answer will vary depending on the type of animal, the type of screen and the risk factor of your animal.  We recommend that you refer to the designated animal category pages for further, species specific information.

If you have ordered a combined screen, there will be two sample collection pots in the same envelope. Our collection kits are specifically designed to fit within the dimensions of the Royal Mail ‘Large Letter’ postal classification.  If you stack the boxes on top of each other, the envelope will be too thick for a ‘Large Letter’ and it will cost you more in postage. If the two boxes are placed side by side they will be well within the dimensions of a ‘Large Letter’. 

Testing Process

There has been much research on the efficacy of faecal egg counts; most notably undertaken – amongst many others over the years – by Prof Jacqui Matthews of the Moredun Institute.  The research effort has centred mainly on farm and other grazing animals, but the principles can be extrapolated to all animal species.   The Royal Veterinary College and the ‘European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites’ (ESCCAP) as well as various regulatory bodies such as SCOPS and COWS all champion the use of worm counts as an important element in parasite control.

No worm count, screen or test should ever be classified as 100% accurate.  Statistically this is incorrect, mainly due to the erratic shedding patterns of some parasites as well as limits of detection and the potential for male only population (although this would be self-limiting by its nature). For this reason, regular counts should be undertaken to ensure that all stages of parasite development are recovered.

Tapeworms are notoriously intermittent shedders.  If eggs or egg-carrying segments are present, Wormcount.com screens will recover them.  If the sample was taken at a time when they were not shedding, they will not be present in the sample.  We would therefore recommend a tapeworm medicine is given regularly (frequency will vary depending on the risk your animal is exposed to) to ensure the animal is not infested.

Our strict bio-security and method procedures ensure safe, repeatable and accurate results from every sample, as received.  It is, however, very important to ensure that the instructions are followed exactly when sampling, to avoid compromising your screen. 

Testing is undertaken in our own purpose-built laboratory, by our own highly trained and rigorously monitored staff.  We do not sub-contract out work to other labs, so we can be absolutely sure that every sample is screened to our very high standards.

Our laboratory has been purpose designed with bespoke equipment and facilities, allowing us to provide a professional and high-quality service direct to the public and veterinary practices.  All of our analysts undergo rigorous training before they undertake any testing.  Even once approved for testing, they undergo regular ‘blind’ spot checks for monitoring purposes.  They also undertake regular external personal development sessions to keep them at the forefront of the industry throughout their careers. 

Results Process

All results will be emailed to the email address that you provide on the lab request form which accompanies the samples.  If the results are not in your main inbox when you are expecting them, please check your spam, junk and deleted folders.  If they are not there, please email the office at results@wormcount.com and we will be pleased to look into it for you.

Once the samples are received into the lab, there is a same working day turnaround for all worm egg screens, giardia screens and liver fluke screens.  Lungworms screens are an extended process, so they are always issued the following working day after arrival.

As we are so reliant on the delivery times of the Royal Mail (which can be very variable), if your screen is urgent, we recommend sending the samples via a tracked method or courier so that you can monitor their progress to the lab.

If you have a vet’s appointment, or need your results by a certain time, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate wherever possible.

Yes!  All of our direct access clients are entitled to free aftercare advice as part of your screen.  There are no ‘tiers of service’ or hidden extra costs for advice.  Sometimes our advice will involve a referral to your vet, but very often we are able to assist with your queries directly and many of our staff have qualifications which allow us to prescribe certain medications for certain animals. In any case, if you are not certain about what your results mean or if you just want to chat it through, we are always happy to help explain anything you are unsure about.

If your screen has been undertaken via a third party service and the results have been emailed to you from them, we recommend that you contact them directly as we are unable to enter into any correspondence in those instances.

As an unbiased and independent laboratory, we have taken the decision to avoid selling any chemical, natural or homeopathic products for use after screening, which could be deemed as a conflict of interest.  This means you can be confident that our results are truly impartial.

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