Guidance regarding sample collection and refinement of fecal flotation exam for the isolation of Aspiculuris tetraptera

Anna E. Goodroe, Victoria K. Baxter, Julie Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aspiculuris tetraptera continues to be a problem in rodent vivaria, in part due to difficulties in parasite detection. Although PCR testing is highly sensitive, it is expensive and does not always provide immediate results. Consequently, many institutions rely on passive fecal flotation as a quick inhouse exam for diagnosing A. tetraptera infections. To increase the sensitivity of this test, we examined multiple parameters to determine the optimal test protocol. A 30-min soaking period prior to fecal flotation for 15 min allowed fecal pellets to soften and facilitated efficient egg isolation. We also evaluated the effect of time of day, sample size, age, sex, and housing status on egg isolation. No evidence of cyclical egg shedding was found, and although larger fecal sample sizes did not result in more eggs isolated, their use reduced the incidence of false-negative exams. The most eggs were isolated from 8- and 12-wk-old mice, and as mice aged, the number of eggs isolated declined. Overall, neither sex nor housing status influenced the number of eggs isolated. Finally, examination of multiple diagnostic tests (fecal flotation exam, direct examination of cecal and colonic contents, and fecal PCR) revealed that no single test was definitive, thus indicating that multiple tests might be required to successfully screen mice with low pinworm burdens. These findings provide guidance regarding sample selection, collection, and processing to efficiently detect A. tetraptera.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-547
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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