1 - Before you begin.
Contact a veterinarian and prearrange your fecal to be done. Some veterinarians are closed on various days, so it is best to contact them first to find out when is a good time to ship as well as how they want the feces shipped. Establishing a relationship is key.
Another thing that may help you out, especially if your frogs are in quarantine containers, is to change the bedding (sphagnum, paper towels, etc.) 2 or 3 days prior to your ship date. This allows you to collect the freshest feces.
2 - Supplies
You will need the following.
- Paper towel
- Ziplock bag
- Hand Sanitizer
- Rubber Gloves
- Plastic Spoon
Cut approximately a 1" x 1" square of paper towel.
Label your Ziplock bag with what tank they came from and the date. For instance mine says, D. Gal (for galactonotus) and 1-12-09 for the date. It is VERY important to label your bags especially if you are sending multiple samples.
3 - Keep it as sterile as possible.
Use the hand sanitizer before you begin your collection of feces. Use it before you put on latex gloves and after you take off your latex gloves.
Ware latex gloves (Warning: Latex gloves can cause an allergic reaction, if you are allergic to banana, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit or passion fruit avoid using latex. There are alternative NON LATEX gloves).
Change gloves, collecting spoon, ziplock bag and remember to hand sanitize in between each tank you are collecting feces from. AVOID CROSS CONTAMINATION. Dispose of gloves and spoon in a proper area away from your frog room or tanks.
An easy way to try to keep everything clean is to take your gloves off inside out/rolling them off your hand while holding the spoon.
4 - Feces
What is frog poo? According to David M Frye, DVM...
Some are nice semi-firm tiny sausage shaped masses (this is ideal.) They can range in color from red to brown to black. Dark brown is ideal. Some frogs pass very loose stool that may be watery. Fecal material that is repeatedly misted will obviously begin to soften and run.
It is real easy to find on white paper towels.
What is not frog poo?
Sorry, it was getting too serious.
5 - Feces collection
According to David M. Frey, DVM...
When collecting a sample for testing, you should try to collect about 3 of the freshest looking feces in each vivarium that you want tested. If the vivarium has one frog or 5 frogs, it doesn’t really mater. Just collect 3-5 fresh looking “turds.” Frogs housed together will eventually carry the same parasites. If you just mixed a bunch of frogs together from different sources, be certain to test again at a later date – after all the frogs have had enough time to contract the various parasites that they may have been exposed to. It can take up to 2 months for certain parasites to show up in feces, but most appear with 4-6 weeks after exposure (remember that I am just speaking of dart frogs here.)
To collect the feces, I recommend using a clean plastic spoon or knife. Try to pick the “turd” off of a leaf or paper towel or rock or whatever without getting too much of any other debris. Place three or so feces from each tank into a SMALL, AIRTIGHT container. Film canisters work great as do tiny zip-lock type baggies. A small amount (1 inch square) of moist paper towel should be added to the container to keep the feces from drying out.
Place them on the moist 1" square paper towel. Then place them into Ziplock bag.
6 - Shipping
Ship feces ASAP via next-day delivery, 2nd day does work but anythign longer than that is much more difficult to diagnose species of worms, according to Dr. Frey. I used a Ziplock bag because I think shipping would be easiest and cheapest than trying to ship film canister, but I do not know for sure.
I folded the Ziplock bag in thirds and placed it inside a folded up letter explaining who I am (Name, Address, Email, Phone) and what I want done.
It was then shipped via United States Postal Service using the following supplies, which are available at no charge at the post office.
Express Mail Next Day Post Office to Addressee
Express Mail Legal Size Envelope
I hope this helps. If I made a mistake, please learn from it.
Additional information on fecal and quarantine procedures can be found here.