Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
Onion Creek Ranch "Chevon, cabrito, goat... No matter what you call it, it is the HEALTHY red meat™
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DOING YOUR OWN FECALS IS EASY

Parasites are the biggest health management problem facing goat producers. Worms and coccidia kill more goats than all other illnesses combined. Every goat producer should schedule routine microscopic examinations of goat pills (feces) for worms and coccidia. Do not wait for a problem; prevent it.

Doing fecals is easy. All you need are a few supplies and some goat poop. An inexpensive and suitable microscope is the MSK-01 with 4 x 10 x 40 power and a movable stage. As of this writing, it is available for $100 from www.professionalmicroscopes.com (MilesCo Scientific). A movable stage is needed so that the slide can be moved side to side as you look through the eyepiece.

Additional supplies needed are test tubes (12 cc syringe covers will suffice), plain glass slides (McMaster green-gridded slides are not necessary unless you are trying to raise goats in an area of heavy rainfall), slide covers (optional), fecal floatation solution (sodium nitrate can be obtained from a vet), a stirrer (fecal loop or popsicle stick), a block of styrofoam (hollowed out to hold the test tubes upright), and a chart depicting worm eggs and coccidia oocysts. Here is a link to the parasite chart site: www.apacapacas.com/parasites/ McMasters slides are only available from Chalex Corp. at www.vetslides.com.

Now for the fun part. Catch the goat whose pills you want to check and collect fresh feces, either by using a fecal loop to gather it from inside the goat, or stand around for a few minutes until the goat drops some pills. Given their fast metabolism, goats defecate often. Do not use dried-out goat pills when doing fecal examinations. Empty pill bottles are good for collection and labeling. For goats with diarrhea who require fecal testing, put on a pair of disposable gloves and obtain a fecal sample by inserting your gloved fingers into the goat. Turn the glove inside out, then cut the glove and place the fecal material on the slide.

Put three of four fresh goat pills into the test tube and pour just enough floatation solution into the tube to cover them completely. Mash them with the stirrer. Fill the tube with more floatation solution to the point that it is slightly overflowing. Place a glass slide over the top, letting a suction form with the solution against the slide, and place the slide in your styrofoam test-tube holder. Wait five minutes to allow the eggs to float to the top and adhere to the slide.

Carefully remove the slide from the top of the test tube and place the slide into the microscope's viewing holder (movable stage) . Dispose of the contents of the test tube. Using the chart of worm eggs and coccidia oocysts, slowly adjust the lens to suit your eyes and move the slide from side to side until you find worm eggs and/or coccidia oocysts. The main worm problem in goats in the USA is Haemonchus contortus; this worm sucks blood, causing anemia and death. The funny-looking darkened zeroes with a small white pinhole center are water bubbles. Since the slide's contents have not be strained, there will be debris in the mixture, so ignore it and look only for the parasite eggs as the chart depicts them.

Almost every goat has a few worms and even some coccidia oocysts to help stimulate its immune system. But if you find more than a couple of eggs or oocysts in your fecal sample, take appropriate corrective measures by medicating the goat properly.

There are far more sophisticated methods for doing fecals, but the procedure outlined above will suffice quite well for the average goat producer. It will tell you what you need to know in order to keep your herd's fecal counts low.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto
ONION CREEK RANCH
10-5-10 update

The photos below are courtesy of Dr. D. Bowman, NYSCVM, Ithaca NY.
Thank you , Dr. Bowman!

strongyle eggs
strongyle egg
Coccidia, Haemonchus and Nematodirus worm eggs
Coccidiosis egg

Nematodirus spathiger egg,
Haemonchus Contortus egg, Coccidia Oocyst

Coccidia

Strongyles enlarged and in a group

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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