The fecal flotation test is a test to look for worm eggs, proglottids (tapeworm segments) or protozoan (single-celled organisms) cysts in the feces. These parasites live in the intestines and/or stomach of the cat and reproduce by releasing eggs or cysts which are passed out of the cat via the feces where they are then ingested by a new host.
How is a fecal flotation performed?
- A small amount of feces (approximately 1 inch/2.5cm long) that is less than 24 hours old is placed in a container known as a “fecalyzer” and a liquid salt or sugar solution added. A glass “coverslip” is then placed over the top of the container.
- The sample is left to stand for 20 minutes to allow any eggs of cysts to float to the surface.
- The coverslip is removed and placed under a microscope to check for eggs or cysts.
Sometimes a negative result will be found even though your cat may be infected. This may be due to low parasite burdens or parasites being too young to reproduce. If this occurs, a repeat fecal flotation test may be necessary and/or your veterinarian will recommend treating your cat based on his index of suspicion.
If your veterinarian asks you to obtain a stool sample, place it in a clean, dry container or a sandwich bag and seal.