May 2016

The Laboratory of Dr. Ray Kaplan:  An Update on Tests

 

by Sue Howell

University of Georgia

 

The laboratory of Dr. Ray Kaplan at the University of Georgia offers various clinical testing for parasite control and drug resistance monitoring for large animals.  The most basic diagnostic test done in our lab is the fecal egg count.  There are several options for doing fecal egg count testing, the McMasters being the most common.. 

 

Depending on the animal species to be checked and the amount of feces available, a 50 egg per gram (epg) sensitivity (requires 2 grams of feces) or a 25 epg sensitivity (4 grams) can be tested.  In general, a 50 epg is sufficient for small ruminants.  Horses, cattle, camelids and exotic species usually shed fewer eggs than sheep and goats, so a 25 epg is generally recommended for those animals. 

 

A “high sensitivity” McMasters chamber is also available in our lab which provides a detection level of 16 epg for 2 grams of feces or 8 epg if using 4 grams.  If needed, higher detection levels can be achieved by using a Mini Flotac device for samples with very low counts or for performing a fecal egg count reduction test (FECRT).  A FECRT evaluates the efficacy of dewormers by comparing pretreatment fecal samples to post-treatment (10-14 days after treatment).  This test can give a good indication if the dewormers are working on a particular farm.

 

Another diagnostic assay, done exclusively in the Kaplan lab, is the DrenchRite® Assay (see archived Timely Topics from July 2012 for more details about this assay).  This test is excellent for the evaluation of resistance of Haemonchus contortus and several other gastrointestinal parasites found in small ruminants, camelids, and some exotic animals. This specialized and extremely useful test allows us to determine the resistance status for all of the different drug classes commercially available for parasite control.  

 

The DrenchRite® test utilizes eggs isolated from the feces collected from of a number of infected animals in a herd.  The DrenchRite® plates are now available for testing, however, we do ask that you call or e-mail the lab to “preschedule” your assay.  This test is somewhat time-consuming to perform, thus we want to give your sample the undivided attention it deserves to ensure the best results possible.

 

For more specific information regarding any of these tests or inquiries regarding pricing, collection and/or shipping of samples, shipping address and submission forms please contact Sue Howell (jscb@uga.edu) or Bob Storey (bstorey@uga.edu) or call the laboratory at (706) 542-0742.

 

Besides the clinical offering of the Kaplan laboratory, there is a heavy emphasis on research projects dealing with parasite drug resistance in large animals.  Research in drug resistance of small ruminants has been a primary focus for years in our lab, however, a surge of reports of drug resistance in the cattle industry have led to an increased interest in cattle related projects.  With the addition of Dr. Kelsey Paras, a parasitology  resident who joined our lab this past year, we have an increased ability to be more involved with a number of cattle projects with other universities.   We hope this will increase our knowledge about the drug resistance issues in our very significant beef industry.

 

 

One specific project Dr. Paras will be leading beginning this spring is to survey a number of beef farms across the state of Georgia to get a “snapshot” of the resistance status in Georgia.  We hope this will help us better understand the severity of the resistance problem in cattle parasites in our home state.  In addition, our lab always has an interest in gaining a better understanding about parasite biology in general, along with learning as much as we can about the mechanisms of drug resistance. 

 

Dr. Kaplan’s great ideas regarding scientific projects have led to numerous collaborations with visiting scholars worldwide as well as graduate, undergraduate and veterinary students.  With the retirement of parasitologists around the country’s Veterinary Colleges plus the reduction of funding sources by many universities, our lab is on the forefront of drug resistance research.  We look forward to many worthwhile projects and collaborations in large animal research for years to come.  

Collecting a fecal sample

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