The reliability of different egg counting methods for estimating the intensity of Trichostrongylus tenuis infections in red grouse, Lagopus lagopus scoticus, was investigated in the autumn, when grouse may harbour high parasite intensities. Possible limitations to the use of these methods were also examined. Faecal egg counts were found to accurately estimate T. tenuis worm intensities, at least up to an observed maximum of c. 8000 worms. Two egg counting methods (smear and McMaster) gave consistent results, although the exact relationship with worm intensity differed according to the method used. Faecal egg counts significantly decreased with increasing length of sample storage time, but egg counts were reliable for estimating worm intensity for three weeks. The concentration of eggs in the caecum was also found to reliably estimate worm intensity. However, egg counts from frozen gut samples cannot be used to estimate worm intensities. These results conclude that, despite some limitations, faecal and caecum egg counts provide useful and reliable ways of measuring T. tenuis intensities in red grouse.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology