Have you ever wondered why veterinarians recommend yearly fecal testing and what exactly is tested for? It’s not because we enjoy pet poop. We recommend “fecals” because they are an important part of your pet’s annual exam. Fecals allow veterinarians to check your pet for intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites are a major cause of morbidity in pets and also a concern for people. According to Kansas State, 34% of dogs in the United States have some kind of intestinal parasite, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 14% of people in the U.S. have been infected with the roundworm toxocara. Fecals are an important tool to ensure that your pet and your household are not infected and exposed to intestinal parasites, respectively.
Fecals enable veterinarians to determine if your pet has intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, coccidia and giardia. Since intestinal parasites live in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, they are usually hidden from view. Unlike external parasites like fleas and ticks, most intestinal parasites are never seen. The only way to detect the presence of intestinal parasites and identify them is by doing a fecal.
A fresh fecal examination is part of a sound yearly physical. Bring in a fresh specimen, 4 to 6 hours old, not a desiccated “moon rock” or “fossil poop”. Drying out and dehydrating kills many of the potential parasites present and may mask their presence.
Recent studies show that most municipal city parks and public areas have a high incidence of canine gastrointestinal parasites (both worms and protozoans such as Giardia). Likewise, local ponds, lakes, creeks, and streams close to heavily populated areas also generally contain parasites that can affect our canine companions.
Grooming, boarding and day care facilities and dog parks provide even more possibilities for exposure. If you do participate in retrieving, hiking, cross-country skiing, jogging with your dog, agility, dog shows, etc., your dog’s exposure is even higher.
Infestation with intestinal parasites is no minor detail. Parasites can make dogs uncomfortable, irritable, and lead to other more serious conditions. Some can even be transmitted to humans.
For the month of July we are offering fecal testing at a discount! So bring in a stool sample from your pet and get tested today!