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Nursing support for disease diagnosis > Coprology > Flashcards

Flashcards in Coprology Deck (47)
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Define coprology

study of faeces


Define diarrhoea

excessive and frequent evacuation of watery faeces


Define constipation

difficult, incomplete or infrequent bowel movements


Define steatorrhoea

excessive fat in faeces


Define melena

dark stool containing blood from upper GI tract


Define colitis

inflammation of the colon


Define haemtochezia

stool containing red blood (from lower GI tract)


Define faecal occult blood

hidden blood in the stool sample


Define meconium

first faeces from a neonate;

dark, tar-like and can be green in appearance


Name reasons for a faecal exam


suspected endo-parasite infestation

suspected digestion impairment or metabolic disorder

melena (black faeces) / haematochezia (red blood in faeces)

suspected bacterial infection

abdominal pain



Describe patient preparation for faecal sampling

Dogs should be walked on a lead or in confined area

Cats should be kept indoors until sample achieved


Describe patient preparation for a faecal endoparasite exam

Obtain sample prior to administration of endo-parasiticides


Name faecal sample collection methods (directly from ground/cat litter)

Directly from the ground / cat litter

collect immediately

disinfected area in advance to prevent contamination

if not disinfected collect top portion of sample only

any delay in sample collection may result in parasite eggs hatching and crawl away

cat litter, grass, soil or bacteria may contaminate the sample

use of sterile katkor is advised for cat sampling


Name faecal sample collection methods (directly from the rectum)

fresh, uncontaminated sample obtained

can be carried out on a conscious patient

use appropriate restraint to protect personnel from injury

faeces may be collected using a gloved finger inserted through the anal sphincter into the rectum and scooped back out

only a portion of faeces sampled

take care not to damage rectal mucosa

transfer sample into appropriate receptacle


Describe storage and preservation of faecal samples

containers should be sterile and airtight

sufficient faeces (2-5g) to fill the container

too much air space encourages parasite eggs to hatch prior to examination

Exam within 2 hrs of collection


Store at a maximum of 4 ºC to prevent further development of parasitic stages

store in the fridge for a max of 7 days

bacteria examination should be carried out immediately to prevent overgrowth of non-fastidious bacteria

if exam delayed, dilution with equal parts of 10% formalin, stops endoparasite development. (Bacteria exam impossible as destroyed)


Name causes of sample deterioration or inaccurate results

Operator error

Incorrect sample collection technique

Delay between evacuation and examination

Incorrect test methods or materials used

Contamination of sampling (on collection, in storage or in the lab)

Inappropriate patient preparation

Incorrect handling, storage or sample preservation

Inappropriate package/storage for transport to external lab


What might faecal colour indicate?

May be affected by diet, malabsorption or parasitic infestation


What might faecal consistency indicate?

Diarrhoea, constipation


What might faecal odour indicate?

May be affected by diet, malabsorption or parasitic infestation


What might the presence of mucus in faeces indicate?

may indicate a digestive tract disorder, parasitic infestation


What might the presence of parasites in faeces indicate?

Intact segmented worms, ascarids (spaghetti strands), tapeworm segments ( grains of rice)


What might the presence of foreign objects in faeces indicate?

Grass, string, bone fragments, undigested food stuffs, hair


What might dark brown/black blood in faeces indicate?

Large quantity of red meat in diet

Upper GI haemorrhage e.g. stomach or small intestine


What might pink faeces indicate?

Hepatic dysfunction i.e. biliary obstruction


What might red faeces indicate?

Lower GI haemorrhage

Enteritis or parasitosis


What might white faeces indicate?

High fat diet

Bones fed within diet

Metabolic deficiency e.g. EPI


What might blue/green faeces indicate?

Suspect metaldehyde poisoning


What might yellow faeces indicate?

Increased bile pigment may indicate liver disorder


What might mucous in the faeces indicate?

? lower GI tract disorder e.g. IBD, digestive disorder or parasitosis


Describe a direct smear

This is a ‘crude’ analysis technique that may give an indication of segmented worms, however, the sample size is generally too small to provide validity to findings