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Fecal Testing

Parasites can be one of the most challenging health management problems goat producers will need to address. Worms and coccidia are the number one killer of goats.

In our opinion Fecal Testing is one of the best management tools available to the producer. You can have your Veterinarian do them for you or you can learn to do them yourself. Either way it is important to KNOW the worm load is that your stock is carrying BEFORE you treat them and to do a follow up fecal test about 10 days AFTER treatment to be sure that the product you are using is effective.

To us the biggest advantage of doing our own fecal testing is that we can know within minutes the status of the parasite problem with in any individual goat.

Doing your own fecal testing is not difficult, although it does require some specialized equipment.

We currently have a few items on hand for sale: 
Plastic test tubes- Slides and covers- Squeeze bottle
Contact us using the link at bottom of page for prices and availability.


  • Microscope * source at bottom of this page
  • Test tubes
  • Test tube holder
  • Glass slides
  • Slide slip covers
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Specialized squeeze bottle
  • Dixie cups
  • Fecal loop or craft stick
  • Fecal flotation solution
  • Fresh fecal samples collected from your goats
  • Centrifuge: Optional but VERY helpful if time is of the essence (NOTE: some centrifuges load the tubes at a SLANT - we DO NOT prefer this type. Our centrifuge loads with the tubes in a totally vertical position which allows us to fill with additional flotation solution and to put the slip cover on top before turning the centrifuge on).

Fecal Solution - Since parasite eggs will sink in water, a solution of salt or sugar is used to concentrate and separate eggs from most fecal debris. Personally we find the sugar base just to STICKY too work with and prefer the salt base.

We also like to use the FecalSol READY MADE product, which gives a consistent product and specific gravity for a successful flotation.

Each solution has it own advantages and disadvantages. Magnesium sulfate is inexpensive, but if slides have to sit awhile before they are read, the fluid will crystallize and the eggs may be distorted.

Sugar solution allows slides to be kept longer before reading, but it is sticky and more expensive.

Sodium nitrate can be purchased already in solution and therefore saves time used for mixing but it is relatively expensive.

Zinc sulfate is the best solution to use for detection for GIARDIA cysts because the cysts do not become distorted as quickly with it.



Epsom Salt Solution

5 pounds Epsom Salt
4 Quarts Water

Bring water to a boil and then add the Epsom Salt.
Stir and set aside to cool and continue to dissolve the Epsom Salt.
Store in a sealed jug at room temperature.


Sugar Solution:

1 pound sugar
1 1/2 cups water
6 ml (1 1/4 tsp) formaldehyde

Dissolve in a double boiler over heat and then add formaldehyde.


Step by Step Instructions 

• Place about 2 gm of fecal sample (about one adult or 3-4 kid pellets) in a 3 ounce paper Dixie cup.

• Place about 10 cc fecal solution in the cup and stir very well with fecal stick (craft or popsicle stick) , mashing the material until it is completely broken apart.

• Pour the mixture through a gauze or VERY fine mesh strainer into another cup, stirring the material in the strainer while pouring.

• Press the remaining material remaining in the strainer with the fecal stick until nearly dry.

• Pour the 'strained' solution into a 15 cc test tube that is setting in a test tube holder (or in the centrifuge). If you do not have a test tube holder you can fill a container with sand or UNCOOKED rice. The tubes will stand secure pushed down into the sand or rice bed.

• If the test tube is not COMPLETELY full (seeing a slight rise or crest of the fluid at the top of the tube) add just enough additional flotation solution (using the special tip squeeze bottle in the kit we provide or you can try using a syringe to SLOWLY add flotation solution to the test tube) to give you this slight 'crest'.

• Place a slip cover over the test tubes making SURE that the fecal solution is touching the cover slip. If you are using a centrifuge then spin the tubes for FIVE MINUTES at 15000 R.P.M (the solution will NOT go flying out:) . If you are not using a centrifuge then allow the samples to set for at least 30 minutes - longer if you are suspecting coccidia. Some will tell you that letting the sample set for five minutes is long enough -- to convince yourself try this -- make up several fecal samples from the SAME ANIMAL - let them set and read them under the microscope every ten minutes and see if YOU can see a difference in the number of eggs that you see.

• Remove the slip cover from the test tube by lifting straight upward and place it on a glass slide. If done properly there should be a good thickness of material under each cover.

• Count the worm eggs under the slip cover using a low power (10x) objective moving the slide from side to side and front to back. Note that you will see some debris and some WATER BUBBLES which look like a 'donut'.


There are various other and more sophisticated techniques for preparing fecal samples,however, the above procedure should work quite well for helping the majority of producers in monitoring the health of their herds.

BOOK: Veterinary Clinical Parasitology written by; Margaret W. Sloss, Russell K. Kemp and Anne M. Zajac, contains many photos of parasites eggs from various species of animals. You can order this from Ames University , Iowa or perhaps your local book store.

.....................................................................Note 'cap' on end

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