- Poop Inspector
I bought my first microscope at a university auction. It was like 25 cents. I then had to spend about $50 on an adapter... It was a euro plug in. I currently use an Olympus that was about $1000; but remember I use that bad boy about every day. If I had to choose my cell phone or my scope, I would be a lot happier with just the scope. A lot of high schools may have them for sale. Just contact the science department. You'd be surprised how many are just stored away that they would just give you (my second scope was a freebie from my high school science teacher). I like microscopes; my grandmother was a microbiology professor.
40x - 100x should do the trick (the lowest two powers). Anything over that may be a little overkill. Yes, you should centrifuge. But there are methods that you can do to avoid it. If one is not available, don't go out and buy it.
In my line of work (poultry production/pathology) a lot of diagnostics are done when a bird passes. On necropsy (post-mortem), you can do a direct intestinal scrape of the whole tract. I start with the crop looking mostly for capillaria eggs. Put your knife or scalpel on the surface and slightly touch the surface. You can observe grossly some small threads that are actually the worm. Move your exam to the loop of the duodenum which is next to the pancreas. At the loop you can identify some coccidia species (primarily E. acervulina). I then locate Meckel's diverticulum, which is on the anti-mesenteric side of the jejunum. You can then scrape for coccidia (primarily E. maxima). Then cut open the cecum and observe any worms (Heterakis); if you find some hemorrhage or damage it could be E. tenella; scrape here as well. When scraping the intestine, be sure to remove any excess food; be cognizant of worms. You can't miss them. Just run your scissors through the tissue to expose it and let it lay flay.. I am going to probably post a video in a few months on how I do a gross and microscopic necropsy. I just have not had enough time to sit down and do it :)
Hey I am all for trying new things, and I hope that I am wrong. If you need any help identifying any organisms, I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner. PM your pictures or if you need any help finding anything. And just fyi, if you are in Georgia you are in the epicenter of the best poultry medicine in the world!!!! Call around; I have spent months in Athens studying poultry. Those guys are my mentors and friends; they know production like no one else.