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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128


CHRISTIE, J et al. The sensitivity of direct faecal examination, direct faecal flotation, modified centrifugal faecal flotation and centrifugal sedimentation/flotation in the diagnosis of canine spirocercosis. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2011, vol.82, n.2, pp.71-75. ISSN 2224-9435.

Several faecal examination techniques have shown variable sensitivity in demonstrating Spirocerca lupi (S. lupi) eggs. The objective of this study was to determine which faecal examination technique, including a novel modified centrifugal flotation technique, was most sensitive to diagnose spirocercosis. Ten coproscopic examinations were performed on faeces collected from 33 dogs confirmed endoscopically to have spirocercosis. The tests included a direct faecal examination, a faecal sedimentation/flotation test, 4 direct faecal flotations and 4 modified faecal centrifugal flotations. These latter 2 flotation tests utilised 4 different faecal flotation solutions: NaNO3 (SG 1.22), MgSO4 (SG 1.29), ZnSO4 (SG 1.30) and sugar (SG 1.27). The sensitivity of the tests ranged between 42 % and 67 %, with the NaNO3 solution showing the highest sensitivity in both the direct and modified-centrifugal flotations. The modified NaNO3 centrifugal method ranked 1st with the highest mean egg count (45.24 ± 83), and was superior (i.e. higher egg count) and significantly different (P < 0.05) compared with the routine saturated sugar, ZnSO4 and MgSO4 flotation methods. The routine NaNO3 flotation method was also superior and significantly different (P < 0.05) compared with the routine ZnSO4 and MgSO4 flotation methods. Fifteen per cent (n =5)of dogs had neoplastic oesophageal nodules and a further 18 % (n = 6) had both neoplastic and non-neoplastic nodules. S. lupi eggs were demonstrated in 40 % of dogs with neoplastic nodules only and 72.9 % of the dogs with non-neoplastic nodules. The mean egg count in the non-neoplastic group (61) was statistically greater (P = 0.02) than that of the neoplastic group (1). The results show that faecal examination using a NaNO3 solution is the most sensitive in the diagnosis of spirocercosis. The modified centrifugal flotation faecal method using this solution has the highest egg count. The study also found that dogs with neoplastic nodules shed significantly fewer eggs than dogs with non-neoplastic nodules.

Keywords : dog; egg; faecal examination; Spirocerca lupi; spirocercosis.

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