Parasites in animals

A lot of things come out with fecals. Not only is their DNA from animals ate and the animals themselves, but also DNA from parasites that infect the animals. Common parasites in the digestive system include nematodes, trematodes, and cestodes. Traditional techniques for parasite assessment have been to look for eggs in the fecals. But this work requires experts (which can mean expensive, slow, inexact) and cannot always differentiate closely related species. Sequencing DNA in fecals also has the potential to identify parasites. For one client, we used 18S sequencing to look for parasites in their birds. To begin, voucher specimens sequenced well. When we looked at DNA in fecals, animals identified as having parasites visually also tested positive using DNA sequencing. One thing we did learn is that for 95% accuracy in testing for the presence of parasites, multiple replicates need to be run (using our standard approach of swabbing the fecal). Still, for those interested in whether their animals might be infected with parasites in the digestive system, this is a simple test to add.