The Biology of the Goat Laboratory

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How to do your own fecal exams

Preparing the sample

Microscope The best sample is one that is very fresh, taken directly from one goat. When your goat stands up from resting she will usually give you a good sample. Gather about 4 or 5 pellets and put them in a small glass jar. Add about 1/4 cup of your floatation solution and mash up the pellets using a small spoon or wooden tongue depressor. You can either let the debris settle a bit and then use your eyedropper to collect fluid from the top or you can strain the debris using a piece of cheese cloth or a tea strainer. If you use a tea strainer dedicate it to your fecal exams and do not use it for human food.

fill If you use one of these fecal vials first make sure that the green part is snapped all the way down inside the holder. Pour the strained fluid into the vial until it is almost full. Using your eyedropper continue filling the vial, drop by drop, until there is a slight bulge of fluid above the top of the vial.

Cover slip on vial Gently set the cover slip straight down on the top of the vial. Some of the liquid will leak out around the edge.

Wait about 15 to 20 minutes. It takes time for the microscopic eggs to travel the long distance to the top of the fluid. They will stick to the cover slip when they get to the top. Don't wait too long because the salt solution will begin to dry which will distort your eggs.

Cover slip on slide When the time is up, lift the cover slip straight up and set it on a glass microscope slide. Give the cover slip a very gentle tap with your finger nail, which will squish out excess fluid. Now you are ready to see if you have any parasite eggs in your sample.

Next The fecal exam