There are only a few items that are required for you to do your own fecal testing
at your farm whenever you would like. The basic items are:
A microscope slide
A mixing vial
Fecal flotation fluid
Pictures of the normal parasites associated with goats
A syringe, pipette, or eye dropper
Here is a site that has most of these items. Precision Chambered Counting Slides.
This is the only place I have found for ordering the McMaster Egg Counting slides.
They also have a complete kid that includes the slides, mixing vial, syringes and
document on useage.
Microscope Needs to have 100 times magnification. One eyepiece is all that is required.
There are Binocular microscopes with two eyepieces but it is not required. We have
a binocular microscope but only use one eyepiece. If I were buying a new microscope,
I would not get one with two eyepieces again.
It is nice to have a microscope that has its own light source. Some cheaper microscopes
do not plug into electricity to allow a light source for viewing the slides. They
have a mirror that you adjust to focus room light into the microscope. The better
the lighting, the better the viewing. Get one that has its own light source.
Mechanical stage: A mechanism mounted on top, or as part, of the stage that allows
the operator to move the specimen slide in the X or Y direction by turning a knob.
Very useful at higher magnifications as it can be difficult to move the slide by
hand otherwise since it must be moved such a small amount. Also, moving by hand can
be difficult since you must move it in the opposite direction. If you will be using
a fecal counting slide and will be counting eggs, it is important that your microscope
have a mechanical stage.
Microscope Slide: You need a slide to view your fecal samples. It can be just a basic
slide but I would recommend that you get a special slide designed just for counting
fecal eggs. The picture to the right is a drawing of a McMaster Counting Slide. It
is basically two glass slides with one on top of the other. There are two spaces
between the slides where the fluid fecal samples can be placed. There is a grid over
each of the spaces. McMaster has two types of counting slides related to the grids.
The better one is the side that has the grid lines in green. The grid in green color
makes it very easy to get an initial focus. The grid is needed if you want to be
able to count the number of eggs in a specific area for comparison reasons. I highly
recommend having this type of slide. You use the mechanical stage feature of the
microscope to view the contents of this grid top to bottom, left to right.
You will need some type of a vial for measuring a required amount of fecal flotation
fluid and adding a specific amount of fecal material. When the fecal material material
is added to the fluid, you will need to break down the pellets in the fluid until
it is in a more liquid form allowing the fecal eggs to float in the fluid. The McMaster
Egg Counting Kit has two vials in it for this purpose. The vials have markings to
show how much flotation fluid to add and then how much fecal samples to add.
Fecal Flotation Fluid
This fluid is required to allow the fecal eggs to float in the liquid. There are
some "ready to use" flotation fluids that you can purchase or you can create your
own. At this time, we are using a purchased flotation fluid but will be comparing
our results with some of the mix-it-yourself fluids. We are currently using a Fecal
Float Sodium Nitrate solution we purchased. A saturated sugar fluid is prepared by
dissolving a pound of sugar in 12oz (1 1/2 cups) of water. Saturated salt fluid takes
a pound of salt in 38.5 oz (4 4/5 cups) of water.. I found the ready-to-use fluid
Syringe, pipette, or eye dropper
You need some way of getting a small amount of the fecal sample fluid out after mixing
the sample into the float fluid and putting it on the slide. The McMaster Egg Counting
Kit has two syringes in it for this purpose.
Pictures of Parasites Associated with Goats
Below are some parasite eggs we have found while analyzing fecal samples. From left
to right, they are