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Correlation of FEC with Clinical Parameters

The objectives of a 2022 Austrian study were to evaluate the associations between fecal egg count (FEC) for strongylids and the clinical parameters (of parasitism) in lactating dairy ewes. In addition, the agreement of three criteria regarding clinical examination was assessed.



A total of 1195 dairy ewes from 16 farms was included in the study. FAMACHA©, body condition, and dag scores were determined and a Mini-FLOTAC was performed on individual fecal samples, which were then pooled for larval culture at the farm level (according to the number of lactations). Trichostrongylids were found in 95% of the samples.


Body condition score was negatively correlated with fecal egg count, while FAMACHA© score showed a slightly positive correlation. Dag score did not show a significant association. It was determined that a minority (25%) of the flock shed the majority of eggs (47% to 84%).


It was concluded that clinical scoring does not extrapolate to fecal egg excretion. However, the agreement was moderate to good between different criteria, indicating that training on clinical parameters is recommended for assessment of sheep (to determine need for deworming).


The researchers concluded "From a clinical perspective, both fecal egg counts and clinical parameters should be used simultaneously as separate tools to detect major egg shedders (contaminating the pasture) and sheep suffering from strongylidosis." Source: Animals, 2023, 13(20), 3206.

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