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 stomach of the cat and reproduce by releasing eggs or cysts which pass out of the cat via the feces.
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, which 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.