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Beep-S Action 3 Faecal Sampling - What you need to know

Anthelmintics are convenient and reasonably priced but misuse can lead to development of resistance making them ineffective in the future. Monitoring parasites by faecal sampling can help minimise anthelmintics use and assist the effective timing of treatment Catherine Egan Beef Specialist explains

Under action 3 of BEEP-S you may have selected the optional measure of faecal egg testing for liver and rumen fluke in suckler cows. The aim of this task is to have a more targeted use of anthelmintics when treating suckler cows for liver or rumen fluke. 

Collection of samples to monitor for liver fluke can be done at or after housing. The rate of payment for this action is €10 per cow up to a maximum of 100 cows.

The first step is to select a Department approved laboratory from the list here. You must contact the laboratory to request a kit to be sent to you.

How to take the samples on farm

  1. It is essential to obtain samples from fresh faeces. Eggs in older dung may have hatched or dried out giving inaccurate results.
  2. To obtain freshly fallen samples, approaching a group of resting animals will often encourage them to pass faeces as they walk away.
  3. Wear gloves and collect 10-40 grams of faeces per animal, roughly the size of a golf ball that would fit into a 25 ml pot.
  4. Take a small amount from multiple sites in the dung of each animal mixed together for one sample because the parasite eggs are unlikely to be distributed evenly throughout the dung.
  5. Sample 10 cows animals per management group, placing their samples into individual sample pots. The laboratory will pool samples from a management group.

    Sending the samples to the laboratory

    1. Place faeces in a pot with screw-cap lid then into a leakproof zipper storage bag with some absorbent material, such as paper towels.
    2. Remove the air from the bag or fill the pot only ¾ full to allow air space for developing gas. Containers can burst, so ensure that they are leakproof and can withstand pressure.
    3. The bag containing the samples is then placed into a sturdy outer packaging, resulting in a three-layer packaging.
    4. Label the samples to distinguish between animals.
    5. .Freshness is the most important aspect of good quality samples and ideally the samples should reach the lab within 24 hours.
    6. Do not leave the samples in the sun and keep them cool,
    7. Do not freeze them or place them in the fridge.
    8. If there is a delay in sending them for many days, take new samples. Send samples at the beginning of the week - if they reach the laboratory late Friday afternoon they may not be processed until Monday, decreasing the accuracy of the test.
    9. The words ‘Biological substance, category B’ should be written on the outside packaging with UN3373 hazard symbol.
    10. Do not forget to include a laboratory submission form with relevant contact details and the tests requested. These forms are usually available on the laboratory websites or sent with the kit.

    All samples must reach the lab before the 1st November to comply with this task. While only one sample per herd will suffice for the purpose of this action. Larger herds should consider using more than one sample pack. Based on the results consult with your veterinary practitioner on whether treatment is advised and which anthelmintic to use. Video Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-CFKduNyik