Parasitology Services

The Department of Veterinary Pathology provides diagnostic parasitology service to veterinary practitioners. Our diagnostic staff includes a DVM, PhD Veterinary Parasitologist.

Parasitology Submission Guidelines
Test Purpose Specimen requirements
Fecal Flotation (Sheather's solution and centrifugation) General exam/routine fecal. Detection of: ova, cysts and oocysts Fresh feces, 3-5 grams
Fecal Sedimentation Detect heavy ova (Fluke eggs)
Giardia Antigen Giardia detection (increased test sensitivity as cysts are shed intermittently) Fresh feces, 1-3 grams
Baermann Detect larvae (lungworms) Fresh feces, 10-15 grams. Samples accepted Monday-Thursday only. Do not refrigerate.
Direct Examination (smear) Detect motile organisms Fresh feces, 1-3 grams. Do not refrigerate.
Organism Identification (Examples: nematodes, tapeworms, fleas, ticks) Provide identification of intact internal and/or external parasites Submit specimen (nematodes, tapeworms, fleas, ticks) in 70% ethanol; leak proof container
McMaster's Quantitative egg count for horses, camelids and small ruminants. Results are in eggs per gram. Fresh feces, 5-10 grams
Modified Wisconsin Quantitative egg count recommended for bovine. Results are in eggs per gram (provides increased sensitivity for less than 25 epg)
*Please indicate on submission form if you are looking for a specific parasite*

How do you submit a specimen?

  • Place the fresh sample in a sealed container and then into a sealed plastic bag. Fecal samples must not be frozen.
  • If either Giardia or Cryptosporidium is suspected please submit both unfixed feces and a similar quantity of formalin-fixed feces. Mix 1 part feces with 3-4 parts of 5% neutral buffered formalin in a wide-mouth container in a plastic bag with paper toweling.
  • Helminths (worms) should be preserved in 70% ethanol
  • Print the Veterinary Parasitology Submission Form from the website and fill it out, providing complete animal identification, history, sample collection date, and test requested.
  • Place the completed paperwork along with the specimen inside a sturdy cardboard box and include sufficient coolant (blue ice) to keep sample chilled until it is received at the laboratory.
  • Ship by the carrier of your choice so fresh specimens will be received within 24-28 hours of collection.

For General or Submission Information:

Clinical Pathology Laboratory
(515) 294-0957

Parasitology Service Laboratory

Dr. Matthew Brewer, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVM (parasitology)

For Insect or Tick Identification

This service is for veterinarian use ONLY and can not be used to identify human parasites. Please contact your physician if you feel you have been exposed to a parasite or contact the Entomology Department at Iowa State University for the identification of insects.