Fecal Analysis

Several times we have attended classed on how to do fecal samples and have purchased the equipment. The most expensive piece of equipment is, of course, a microscope. You do not need the most expensive one. A couple of our goat friends have obtained high school or college lab microscopes when they upgraded to newer ones. We went to Walmart and picked up a microscope with 4X, 10X & 40X power with a built-in light. I think it was from C & A Scientific, but am no longer sure. The microscope came with some blank slides. The rest of the equipment we had around the house or barn. Of course, some of the items we do not want to bring back into human use.

To make your flotation solution you can use sugar or salt. Put water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add salt, or sugar and stir. Keep adding and stirring until the salt or sugar is so saturated in the solution that it will not dissolve. Pour off the clear part, and store.

Now, collect your nanny berries. I use a small zip lock bag turned inside out. I retrieve fresh berries and write on the bag whose berries they are. I normally collect four or five goats, thus I run four or five samples through at the same time.

Next, I measure 3 grams of fecal material and put into a 5-ounce paper cup. I use a Dixie paper cup. Add 15 ml sugar/salt solution to the fecal matter. Stir the solution and fecal matter until the material has and even consistency. Using a kitchen tea strainer, pour the solution through the strainer into another 5-ounce paper cup. Use a tongue depressor, popsicle, or craft sticks to press as much material through the strainer as possible. Let set for a couple of minutes, stir, then pour the solution into a test tub or small glass vial.

We got our test tube as a gift from our local County Extension Center. Fill the test tube to slightly overflowing. Place a coverslip on top of the test tube, making sure the solution is touching the coverslip. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes. The eggs will float to the top of the solution and collect o the coverslip. Carefully remove the coverslip and place it wet side down on top of a slide. Place the slide under the microscope. 10X is all that is needed for the initial observation. Begin by moving the slide in a pattern so you get a change to view the entire slide. Each time you find worm, annotate it. To get a better look at a worm egg, change the microscope to 40X.

You should be able to identify the worm eggs from one of the many charts provided for ruminant animals. I use the Guide to Internal Parasites of Ruminants provide by InterVet. I got my copy from Mr. Furney Register of Register’s Sheep and Goat Supplies - http://www.lightlivestockequipment.com/Manuals/GuidetoInternal(obscured).pdf . When you have covered the entire slide, check to see how many eggs you saw and the types you saw. The major parasites we have to deal with are barberpole (Haemonchus), stomach (Ostertagia) and tapeworm (Moniezia).

If I find fewer than 15 worms, then I do not worm the goat, but if over 15, I would check her eyelids and gums and worm based on both. Ok you say, then why did we go through all of the messing with nanny berries. Well we need to know what kinds of worms our goat has. All goat have worms, it is just that we don’t want them to have too many worms. If I find an overload or something I am concerned about, then I collect some more nanny berries from that goat and take them to the vet for an ‘expert’ look at what we have and a recommendation as to a wormer for that goat and its worm problems.

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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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