There are a lot of tests that are part and parcel of a good veterinary exam. When you bring your dog, cat, ferret, rabbit or hamster to the vet, chances are that they will take your pet’s temperature, listen to his breathing and submit your test to a basic veterinarian fecal testing. You might be wondering why your veterinarian needs to check your pet’s poop. It seems like a weird thing to check, especially because it is not a common test done at human doctor’s offices, where we are much more likely to be asked for a urine or blood sample.
Fecal testing is part of your pet’s annual check-up because it helps veterinarians to check for intestinal parasites and other conditions that can become dangerous to your pet’s health if they remain unchecked. This is true for all animals, including small rodents as pets. When you bring your pet to the Dartmouth animal hospital for a check-up, veterinarian fecal testing is done to help identify issues so intestinal parasite treatments can be started as soon as possible for best results.
How Dangerous Are Intestinal Parasites?
As you might guess, intestinal parasites can be dangerous to your pet’s health. According to a recent study, approximately 34 percent of the dogs that live in America have some type of intestinal parasite. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 14 percent of the human population has been infected with roundworm. Roundworm toxocara infections cause an average of 700 Americans to lose their eyesight each year.
Veterinarian fecal testing is a very important tool for both pets and their human companions to ensure that they are not infected with intestinal parasites that can be a danger to everyone involved. Intestinal parasite treatments are used for dogs, cats and small rodents as pets to eradicate worms and other dangerous parasites. For more information on the dangers associated with intestinal parasites, speak with a vet at your local Dartmouth animal hospital.
What Does Veterinarian Fecal Testing Identify?
When your veterinarian does a fecal test on your pet when you visit the clinic or hospital, they are able to determine whether or not your pet has a wide variety of intestinal parasites within their bodies. Some of the parasites tested for include roundworms, coccidia, giardia, hookworms and whipworms. You can’t see these worms because they live inside of your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, so the only way to diagnose the infection is to do veterinarian fecal testing. This is why it is done at an annual check-up or if your pet exhibits any symptoms of infection when they come in for treatment.
The worms, eggs, larvae and even smaller protozoan cysts cannot be seen with the naked eye, even after retrieving a fecal sample. As a result, the best way to determine if there is anything present within the sample, the veterinarian or lab will conduct the test with a microscope. They will either use a slide smear, which involves smearing a tiny bit of stool across the slide to view under the microscope; a flotation or float test, which involves mixing the sample in a solution that allows the eggs and cysts to float for viewing; or a process which uses a centrifuge to spin and suspend the sample in a special solution so the parasites can be identified using a microscope.
What Do I Need to Do?
The best way to do veterinarian fecal testing is to have a fresh sample. The closer you can collect the sample prior to the appointment, the better. The longer that the stool sample sites, the more difficult it will be to identify the condition and properly prescribe the right intestinal parasite treatments. The eggs and larvae, as well as protozoa and cysts, can become altered the longer they sit out.
Try to collect the freshest stool you can find and bring it to the Dartmouth animal hospital on the same day. If you cannot come in on the same day, put the sample in a plastic zip bag and keep it in the refrigerator. Of course, it is best to double bag it and make sure not to contaminate your refrigerator or the food inside. Annual testing should be conducted at your pet’s yearly exam, so make sure to ask about veterinarian fecal testing when you set your appointment.
To find out more about veterinarian fecal testing for cats, dogs and even small rodents as pets, give your local Dartmouth animal hospital a call. Anchor Animal Hospital offers in-house veterinarian fecal testing for quick results and the most accurate intestinal parasite treatments available. Give us a call to set an appointment or to get additional information.