A Primer on Poop: Pet Fecal Testing
While you might dutifully bring in a specimen each time we remind you that your pet is due for his or her stool check, chances are you don’t know how important that little stinky sample truly is.
The Reason for Pet Fecal Testing
When we test a stool sample, parasites are the name of the game. Parasitic loads in pets are more common than you might think, and the microscopic nature of many of them can make detection difficult.
Animals use their mouths to explore the world and groom themselves, making it easy for them to pick up tiny intruders. They also are more prone to unsavory habits, such as coprophagia (ingestion of feces). Any animal who takes a drink from a puddle of water, licks a paw after playing in the yard, chews on a toy that was outside, or eats a morsel of prey is at risk for parasitic infection.
Parasites in pets can cause digestive dysfunction, anemia, malnutrition, and many other forms of trouble. A parasite-free pet is a healthier one, in general.
When we perform pet fecal testing, we use a specialized test to make parasite eggs easier to detect. This means that we can identify a whole host of parasitic agents, even those that are made up of a single cell. Some of the parasites that we diagnose in pets include:
Zoonoses Is No Joke
While parasitic infections in people are not the norm in the United States, they can happen. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, and the two most common parasitic diseases that are seen in people (roundworms and toxoplasmosis) are carried by our pets.
Zoonotic potential is one of the main reasons that we recommend performing fecal testing in pets at least annually. Puppies and kittens should be tested several times in their first year of life.
Besides regular fecal testing, the use of a broad-spectrum parasite preventive may also be recommended. Many of our options for heartworm prevention also carry protection against intestinal parasites. This helps to greatly lower the risk of infection, although there is no product available currently that is effective against all parasites.
Pets and parasites should never be friends. You are the most important part in the effort to protect your four-legged family members from parasitic infection. Next time you visit us, bring us a bit of your pet’s poop. We promise we don’t mind!
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!