The Scoop On Checking Poop: The Importance Of Fecal Testing In Pets
Intestinal parasites, or “worms”, are a common occurrence in many domesticated pets. Yes, even if your dog or cat rarely steps foot outside, it is still possible for them to pick something up. A common misconception among owners is that their super clean little dog or cat couldn’t possibly have intestinal parasites, but the truth is they would be surprised!
Our team at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County provides fecal testing for pets in Ferndale, Monticello, Liberty, and Sullivan County. We handle fecal testing for dogs, cats, birds and furry pocket pets. Let’s look at what you need to know before your next pet wellness appointment.
What Is Fecal Testing?
Fecal testing is the process of setting up a stool sample in a liquid medium that causes the microscopic parasite eggs to float to the top. The gold standard is centrifugation which will force all the egg to spin to the top.
Intestinal parasites are a “worm-like” specimen that lives in an animal’s intestine. During their life cycle they generally migrate through the body and end up in the intestines. Not all of them finish their life cycle and hide out in the body and finish migrating at an opportune time. There are also other intestinal parasites called protozoa. These are only single-celled organisms, meaning they are not the traditional worm that many owners think of.
Standard fecal centrifugation tests at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County checks for roundworrms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia, giardia and tapeworms.*Roundworms and tapeworms are typically the only two parasites that can be physically seen with the naked-eye in a pet’s stool.
When Should A Fecal Flotation Be Performed?
Fecal centrifugation should be performed for a number of different reasons. It is recommended that you have several stool samples checked while they are very young, any time that acute or chronic diarrhea is noted and annually if they are on monthly intestinal parasite preventative and biannually if they are not on a monthly intestinal parasite preventative.
Performing fecal centrifugation is an important part of preventative care with dogs and cats. Even if a pet is not showing symptoms of intestinal parasites, it is still very possible for them to test positive for one or more on a routine fecal centrifugation.
Does A Fecal Flotation Catch Parasites Every time?
Unfortunately, no. Intestinal (and non-intestinal) parasites can be tricky to catch sometimes. Fecal centrifugation is highly effective and is still the gold standard for testing but it is not guaranteed to find eggs every time even if they have a parasitic infection.
What Does The Veterinarian Need From Me?
The vet just needs some poo. Preferably a sample that is less than 24 hours old. Yep, it really is that simple! Package it in a dry clean container or baggie. Oh and they don’t need the whole pile, a small tablespoon amount of poo will do!
Tip for cat owners: It’s not always possible to collect a sample that is free of cat litter (and that’s totally fine!), but please confirm that what you bring is actually stool and not a clump of urine.
Why Do They Need A Fecal Test Every Year?
The idea of annual fecal tests for parasite screening is to protect your pet, you and your family from these nasty creatures. No one wants to be a host for worms, including your dog or cat!
Even if your pet is not showing symptoms of intestinal parasites and appears to be a healthy animal, it is not unusual for these dogs and cats to test positive. Many owners have been surprised by the veterinarian’s result of their pet’s annual fecal screening!
Conclusion: Checking The Poo To Protect You
Picking up poop and bringing it to the vet is smelly and unfun, but having your pet tested yearly for intestinal parasites is a responsible preventative measure that all owners should have done.
Your family and pet will benefit from ensuring they are parasite free and feeling their best for many years to come! So, next time your dog or cat goes in for their annual vaccinations, be sure to grab some poo to have checked too!
Contact Our Veterinarians at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County
Keep your cat or dog safe with a little help from the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County. Our veterinary team provides quality care for pets in Ferndale, Monticello, Liberty, and Sullivan County. Call our team today at (845) 292-6711 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.