Please be aware that some of these parasites can transfer to humans. In the
hospital, where we perform numerous O&P examinations, the specimen is put into
10% formalin immediately to preserve the feces for later examination. This also
kills the parasite.
There are two major methods for concentration of feces: zinc flotation (used by
a lot of veterinarians, and ethyl acetate concentration. You need a centrifuge
for the latter - I'm not sure about the former. I can't comment much on zinc
flotation, as I have never used this procedure.
Of course, you can do direct wet preparations. The ideal wet prep is thin enough
to be able to read newspaper through. For this you only need slides,
coverslips, and patience. You can do these with saline and feces, but without
the formalin, these organisms remain viable. Please do wear gloves when working
with this stuff and wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect your bench top when
finished. A 20% household bleach solution made fresh weekly will work nicely. Of
course, you have to have a surface that can take bleaching.
Pigeon feces also can carry pathogenic fungi (Cryptococcus, Histoplasma),
http://www.azpest.com/diseases.htm (you REALLY need to read this page - you
are messing around with the potential for dangerous infection with pigeon poop)
http://www.colostate.edu/depts/lar/ams_info/cryptococcus.html (read this one
so don't let samples sit around while you're waiting to examine them. Feces is
an ideal medium for many bacteria and fungi to grow. I'm not sure how difficult
it is to acquire formalin outside medical facilities, but you do need to take
care. Make sure you disinfect your breeding pens well, also.
Also, I hate to be blunt, but if you do get any kind of illness for which a
diagnosis is not readily forthcoming, make SURE you tell your doc you're messing
around with pigeons and pigeon feces.
Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)
John Soeters wrote:
> Dear Readers.
>> Recently I started
> to breed racing pigeons (my other big passion) Within short time I noticed
> that pigeons can be infected by numerous parasites. It became a challenge to
> examine the feaces and other fluids by myself.........