Who performs their own fecal tests?


Biologist & Ecologist
I know I've seen several senior members mention that they do their own fecal tests. I'd like to hear from them what they use to do these properly. I have a background in molecular biology, a few semesters of microbiology, and learned how to do canine fecals (but 6 years ago, so I'm rusty), so I'm not completely new to supplies and terminology, but I'd like recommendations on favorite books, specific supplies, etc.

I hate making these types of threads because I feel lazy, but if I remembered any specific members I would ask them personally.

Thanks in advance!


Avid Member
"Understanding Reptile Parasites" by Roger Klingenberg DVM

It has pictures to help identify and explains how to do floats and smears. They sell it here in the bookstore.


Biologist & Ecologist
Oh, well that was easy! I think that's the one section of this site I never visit, I didn't know we had books like that here.

Thanks Jessica!


Biologist & Ecologist
Thanks Dave!

I read a bit of mixed opinions on the Celestron 44340 microscope in one of those threads, but is this the celestron you recommended for people on a budget?


Avid Member
@Dave (and the other persons doing their own tests): Which microscopes are you useing / What's your technical equipment ?

Dave Weldon

Avid Member
Howdy Benny and Olimpia,

The little Celestron units with the built-in LCD screen are good enough to ID the usual worm eggs, coccidia, and other parasites that we often find in chameleons. They do ok at spotting the "swimmers" like flagellates, strongyloides, giardia etc. If you have the extra bucks, shop for a deal on the regular style, "knock-off" (these look like Nikon, Olympus units) models sold under the name "Amscope" and a few others. These units are the next notch-up and include better optics, finer X-Y stage control, more light, finer focusing, all-around beefier construction, have the capability to be upgraded with even better optics, and can have a low-cost USB video camera added. These run around $300 as a trinocular and a little less in a binocular configuration.

I’m going to cut/paste from one of my old posts. Most of the links to products etc. still work :eek:.

Funny, I just sent this to a keeper tonight and others in the past and I realized that I ought post it too :eek:.

Many of us have been happy with this trinocular microscope ($200-$300 depending on the luck of bidding. Check-out the recently Sold eBay list!):

I recommend a trinocular over binocular microscope because it is easier to slap a simple digital video camera onto the trinocular unit’s vertical mount rather than having to put the camera in place of one of the eyepieces (easy to do but limiting user friendliness). Don’t be fooled about magnification. The more you magnify the less light you get etc. Most often, we use the 10x eyepieces in combination with the 4x, 10x, 40x objectives to get 40x, 100x, 400x. We don’t use the 100x objective (10x combined with 100x = 1000x along with the use of special oil contacting between the lens and the slide cover) much since a bigger but blurry image doesn’t buy us much for detecting most parasites. You’ll see listings mentioning 1600x and 2000x. They get that by using a 16x or a 20x eyepiece and the 100x objective lens. These eyepieces don’t buy us much either. The 10x eyepieces are WF “Wide Field” which means that they are better for our use anyway.

There are a bunch of other nice things about these particular microscopes that I won’t go into but suffice it to say, they do what we need to do well enough that they are worth the money. Consider these microscopes to be “knock-offs” of (costing $1000’s) Nikon, Olympus etc. Their optics aren’t nearly as good but, like I said, for the price, they get the job done. It is likely that if you have never used high-end 'scopes then you'll think that you have now :). These aren't $50 "kiddie" scopes.

As far as a digital video camera (USB interface) goes, it isn’t necessary to have one unless you want to document and share your parasite findings. They are fun to use though :).

This one (same one I bought) is at a fair price of $124 + cheap shipping: http://shop.ebay.com/USB 1,3 Mega P...xel+Digital+Microscope+Camera+Eyepiece&_naf=1
(Or do an eBay search for “USB 1,3 Mega Pixel Digital Microscope Camera Eyepiece”)

Several of us got it from this seller and have been happy. I also have an adapter for my Canon DSLR but it cost me over $300 just for the fancy adapter! It’s really nice though.

So once you have your microscope you’ll need slides and slide covers. Either buy them from the AmScope people when you buy your microscope (reduced shipping costs) or pick them up elsewhere.

50 slides and 100 covers:

Another 50 slides:

I’ve also found slides and slide covers at some camera/telescope stores and you might find them at a hobby store too.

If you are going to do Fecal Floats in addition to fecal smears then you’ll want the handy-dandy generic fecalyzers along with a gallon of generic Fecasol. I like the fecalyzers that DON’T have the green part but rather the ones made with a clear part inside. It isn’t the clearness but the physical usability of the clear (semi-transparent) ones. They are just easier to handle. Either one will do the job though. Any of them should cost less than about $1 each. Vets don’t re-use them but if you are very careful about how you handle/sterilize them you should be able to re-use them. I do. It’s not so much that you might contaminate another sample but more about how and where you clean them. You don’t want to contaminate your household sinks! Pure bleach kills some parasites while ammonia will kill others and strong hydrogen peroxide will kill others too. DON’T let any of those chemicals get mixed or (your) death may be the result :(.

Example of the green ones:

The clear ones:
(You don’t need the whole kit, just the cups)


It may be easier for you to buy a few from your vet. I’d get between 1 and 10 of them.

Fecasol or its generic equal:

Flotation info:

Interesting parasite photos as well as good flotation techniques info.

Get this book:
"Understanding Reptile Parasites" By Roger J. Klingenberg D.V.M. 2nd Ed.
Be sure that it is the 2nd Edition. It has 200 pages. ISBN: 978-1-882770-90-8.

Here on our Chameleon Forums Bookstore site!! https://www.chameleonforums.com/bookstore/reptile-parasites/


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1882770900...veASIN=1882770900&creative=373489&camp=211189
Any questions, toss me an email :). (I’m also available by phone if that works better for you.)

Example with the DSLR:

USB Digital Video 100x magnification:
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