Researchers at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky have developed Smartphone technology for doing fecal egg counts. The technology has been licensed by Zoetis, which is focusing on small animals, while the University of Kentucky continues to fine-tune the technology for the equine industry. According to one of the researchers, a 2018 product launch is possible.
The product takes a fecal sample, treats it with various chemicals that make the eggs glow green when illuminated with blue light, and then uses an iPhone to photograph and count the parasite eggs. The whole process takes less than five minutes. This technology can also identify parasite eggs of different parasite classes, such as ascarids and strongyles, in horses.
According to one of the researchers, the product has not been tested for ruminant parasites, but should work with ruminant strongylids.
Could this smartphone technology one day replace the decades-old system of getting fecal egg counts by manually counting numbers on a special McMaster microscope slide?