Is It OK to Ship Samples Through the Mail During Warm Weather?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — MAY 4, 2012 — For 20 years and through all seasons, Horsemen’s Laboratory has been performing fecal egg counts on stool samples sent through the mail. Before we started offering this service to our clients, we sent the samples through the mail as a test and found that most samples were good for a week or more.

Though temperature can affect the development of eggs in a stool sample, Horsemen’s Laboratory results appear to be only slightly affected during the summer months. Of samples tested during the months of July, August, and September, 63.87% were negative (no eggs found on counting chamber). Of Samples tested during the months of November, December, and January, 65.89% were negative.

Horsemen’s Laboratory recommends packing the sample container completely to limit exposure to oxygen because eggs need oxygen to develop and hatch. (Even if the eggs hatch, we just count the larvae we find in the sample.) A recent study at the University of Georgia confirmed that samples placed in a fairly air-tight container were good for at least five days. Collecting the sample early in the week and avoiding holidays will minimize the amount of time a sample spends in the mail. Following these guidelines will ensure the most accurate results.

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