Article Index "Fecal Testing Course - Step 2" Article Index

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Course Objective: This course will teach the rudiments of learning fecal testing methods and techniques for goats, identifying basic parasites, and observing parasite kill ratios with two commonly used (anthelmintics) wormers.

Course Rationale: Owning goats requires the continued monitoring of their health based on the worms and parasites they host. Persons taking this course will become more aware of these worms and parasites and the effectiveness of the various anthelmintics used for control and prevention.

Course Instructor: Gary Pfalzbot - please direct all questions and comments to me at gary@goatworld.com.

To get the most from this course, you will need the following materials and supplies:

  • Water, distilled or tap (see below)
  • Small glass jars (or suitable containers).
  • Old pill bottle or empty 35 mm film cannister.
  • At least one pound of granulated sugar.
  • Stove and pan large enough to hold sugar and water.
  • A few "goat berries" from one particular goat you wish to test.

Step 3 - Preparing the Fecal Test Solution

  • This step is actually two parts - preparing the fecal solution and preparing the fecal test slide. Please carefully follow each instruction below to obtain the best results.

  • Mix one pound of sugar into 1 and 1/4 cup of hot water (distilled or tap water)*. This can be accomplished by placing the water on a stove at low heat and adding the sugar to it slowly. One thing to keep in mind when mixing your solution is to add the sugar slowly, making sure it dissolves well. With "bargain brand" sugars, there is generally a cane residue left that will rise and float on the surface of the solution. Remove as much of this as you can with a spoon or other appropriate kitchen implement.

  • *At this point you can either choose to purchase distilled water, use water from a bottled water sales company such as Culligan, or use your own tap water and allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Of course, you may also just want to begin by using your own tap water "as is" for your first time around.

  • Once you have successfully mixed your solution, remove from the stove and allow to cool in a covered saucepan at least an hour. Using your glass jars, carefully pour your solution into the glass jar and recover the solution with a jar lid.

  • Please note, there are a variety of solutions that can mixed and used and the solution outlined above has worked well for my own personal fecal testing. There are other solutions that work better for specific applications and tests, however, this solution will get you started and is meant only as a general purpose solution that will allow you to see a large variety of parasitic conditions.

  • While you are waiting for your fecal test solution to cool, now would be a good time to don a pair of latex gloves and go and gather "goat berries". You should gather at least six and the rule of thumb here is that the fresher the goat berry the better. Please refrain from using goat berries lying around on the ground. You will have no way to correctly match which goat these were deposited by, and age of the fecal sample also plays a vital role in testing. A tip here: stand in the pen area and watch for a goat to deposit berries - you won't have to wait long. Place the goat berries in a suitable container and return to the place where you will be testing.

  • Before we proceed, I want to stress the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness. Always wash your hands thoroughly. Take another small container such as an old pill bottle or empty 35 mm film cannister and place three of your collected goat berries into the container. Once the berries are in the container, find a suitable instrument such as an old pencil or end of a plastic fork, knife or spoon and mash up the berries before adding your fecal test solution.

  • Next, add some of your still warm fecal test solution to the container with the mashed up berries and allow to sit for a few minutes. You may want to stir this mixture up a few times to ensure thorough saturation of the fecal matter. (Tip: if using the 35 mm film cannister, you can place the lid on the cannister and shake the mixture vigorously). After making sure that the fecal matter has been thoroughly saturated, check the mixture for consistency - you do not want a mixture that is too dark, nor do you want a mixture that is too light. If the mixture appears so dark that you can barely see through it - repeat the mixing procedure using one less goat berry. If the mixture appears so light that you see very little fecal matter with the naked eye, add another goat berry to thicken the mixture.

  • You'll notice that I have recommended the use of glass jars for this course. The reason why is simply because it is much easy to clean and sanitize glass than it is plastic. At any rate, choose materials that you can throw away if need be - not your mom's best China, your husband's favorite drinking glass, a piece from your wife's setee, or that glass family heirloom!

  • Once you have completed the above step, please proceed to Step 3.

    Participants questions, answers and comments to appear here...

Course Instructor: Gary Pfalzbot - please direct all questions and comments to me at gary@goatworld.com.

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