Article Index "Fecal Testing Course - Step 1" 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

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

  • A microscope capable of a X 100 to X500 magnification range.
  • At least 3 or more clear, glass slides.
  • Rubbing alcohol or regular dish soap (for cleaning slides).
  • Clear fingernail polish.
  • Small glass jars (or suitable containers - not plastic).
  • Soft paper towels or cloths (a soft polish camera cloth is ideal).
  • Common granulated pure cane sugar.
  • SafeGuard white paste wormer (no substitutes please).
  • Ivomec or Cydectin Pour-On wormer.
  • Misc: China Marker ("Sharpie"), Pencils and notebook for keeping notes.

To begin with, please know, I am not the last word on fecal testing. However, I frequently perform fecal testing on the goats in my herd, using the techniques that I will discuss step by step below. As the course progresses, your input is welcome as are your comments and questions. Given your own time and experience, you will develop your own methods and techniques for testing. Most importantly I urge you to be patient and keep an open mind. As there is a world which we can see only through a telescope as we look into the sky, so too is there a smaller world that we can only begin to see through a microscope. -- Gary Pfalzbot

Step 1 - Preparing the Slide(s)

  • Using one slide, carefully clean the slide with either rubbing alcohol or a solution of dish soap, diluted with warm water. After washing, hold the still wet slide by the edges and carefully dry it with a lint free cloth or soft paper towel. Hold the slide up to a light source to inspect for dirt, smudges, imperfections, etc. Sometimes lint or paper fibers have a way of adhering to the cleaned slide surface. Gently dab these off with your cloth. I caution you to not blow on the slide with your breath in the same manner that many people clean their glasses. Place your freshly cleaned and dry slide onto a clean surface.

  • Using a china marker (sharpie), carefully draw a small circle on your slide. The cap of the sharpie makes a great template for drawing a circle on your slide. Allow the ink to dry a few minutes on the slide before proceeding.

    Click for larger image!

  • Locate and open the bottle of clear fingernail polish. From here, a steady hand is required but a trick I have learned is to not glop a full brush full of fingernail polish at one time. When dipping the brush into the bottle, pull it out and carefully wipe excess amounts of polish before applying it to the slide. You will be applying small dabs of polish directly over the ink on the circle that you drew. Carefully proceed complete around the circle, using dabs only. Avoid painting the polish on the slide. Another trick I use in lieu of the fingernail polish brush is a toothpick - it allows you to dab the polish on, a dab at a time. Patience is the key - you may need to perform this procedure once or twice to get it right. But on the bright side, once you have created your slide, you can reuse it again and again throughout the course! (Making two is a good idea though).

  • You will need to keep dabbing fingernail polish on the slide until you have built a small "well" that will sufficiently hold a small amount of liquid. You can check the final construction of this step by filling your eyedropper with water and carefully placing at least one drop into the slide well. If your construction has been successful, the water will stay within the well. If it does not, continue dabbing fingernail polish until it does hold at least one drop of water without running outside the boundary of the slide well.

  • Once you have completed the above step, please proceed to Step 2.

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

Course Instructor: Gary Pfalzbot - please direct all questions and comments to me at

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