Rectal fecal samples were collected daily on 10 consecutive days in November 2004 from 11 weaned beef heifers to assess daily variation in fecal oocyst count and species composition. Subsequent samples were collected from the same animals on 15 April 2005 and 9 June 2005. Oocyst numbers were determined by the modified McMaster's test, and species were identified by examination of oocysts recovered with the Wisconsin sugar flotation technique. Soil samples were collected from the heifer pasture on 8 June 2005, and oocysts were quantified and identified to species. Mean fecal oocyst counts varied little at all sampling dates ranging from 134–377 oocysts/g. Ten Eimeria spp. were identified in fecal samples collected in November and April and 11 in June. Eimeria bovis was the most common species identified at all samplings. Mean species composition showed little variation during the 10-day sampling period in November, remained similar in April, and varied slightly in June. Twelve Eimeria spp. were identified in soil samples in proportions similar to those seen in fecal samples. The results indicate that clinically normal weanling beef heifers are likely to be infected with a diverse, but relatively stable, community of Eimeria spp.
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