Wild Tiger Health Project
Created by Dr John C M Lewis

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Faecal analysis

Faecal parasitology is a basic diagnostic technique.

Faecal parasitology should be carried out on any new arrivals at a rehabilitation centre, as part of ongoing screening of animals at a rehabilitation centre and as part of a diagnostic work-up for tigers with gastrointestinal signs.

A faecal flotation and a direct wet prep should be performed on every faecal sample analysed.

For the flotation fresh faeces should be thoroughly mixed with either zinc sulphate solution or a strong sugar solution in a dedicated container. Commercial test kits such as Ovatec are useful if available.  The solution should then be used to fill the container until a meniscus is obtained. A cover slip should be placed on the meniscus and left for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the cover slip should be placed on a microscope slide and analysed. The microscope examination should begin using  magnification  10 (0.25). The whole coverslip area should be systematically examined.

For a direct wet preparation a small amount of faeces (1-2mm3) should be placed on a microscope slide. A drop of water or saline should then be added and mixed with the faeces in a circular motion until large particles are broken down and the sample  covers  1cm2 of the slide. A coverslip should then be added and the slide examined under the microscope as described above.