Picking out parasites
Looking at an animal’s poo is a very good way of checking its digestive system is healthy. Our nurses analyse over 2000 samples of poo a year!
They work together with the keepers to collect the poo. Sometimes this is not as easy as it seems, for example the Gaboon Vipers only poo every three months!
The samples are prepared and looked at down the microscope to see if there are any worms or worm eggs.
In this way the vets can treat the animals with wormer before they become sick.
A parasitic egg found in a faecal sample being studied under a microscope
Cheetah poo check
Parasitic worms can be fatal in cheetahs as they can block the gut or chew on the gut lining. Their worming regime is much more intensive than that of our other cat species because they are more prone to worm infections.
We check the cheetahs’ poo for worm eggs every week so that we can tell when they need to be treated.
We need to know whose poo belongs to whom, because if we find worms we need to know who to treat! Different coloured lentils added to each animal’s meat help us to do this.
We can match the colour of the lentils in their food with the undigested ones in the poo and find out who ‘pooed’ which sample!
Lentils are added to the food to be fed individually to the cheetahs
The lentils that were fed in the meat to the cheetah can be seen in the poo!
The same wormer you use for your pets is used for our cheetahs!