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The Scoop on Poop

Posted on: October 11th, 2012

Do you know why we ask for a sample of your pet’s stool at his or her annual wellness visit?  Here’s the scoop on poop.

The importance of yearly fecal testing is important for diagnosing intestinal parasites that can be dangerous to the health of both you and your pet. Some parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they are transmissible to humans.

We use your pet’s stool to identify the presence of several different intestinal parasites or “worms” that are microscopic. The test we perform actually detects the eggs of mature parasites that live in your pet’s intestine and are shed in your pet’s stool.

We only need a small amount of fresh stool, about a 1″ section; ideally the stool sample should be no more than 24 hours old and when collected in colder outdoor temperatures, never frozen.

It is fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal parasite at some point in its lifetime. Symptoms manifested by pets that are infected with internal parasites can vary. One of the most common symptoms is diarrhea. Other symptoms include poor appetite, lethargy, coughing, and abdominal distention. Some pets don’t show any symptoms while others can die from their infestation.

Due to the prevalence of internal parasites in dogs and cats, their lack of symptoms in some cases, and the potential for humans to become infested, it is extremely important that your pets feces is checked for internal parasites. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends conducting fecal examinations 2-4 times during your pet’s first year of life and then 1-2 times per year.