It will never be the most pleasant part of taking care of your pet, but fecal testing forms an important part of their regular wellness examinations in addition to as a tool for diagnosis. This is because even a small sample of your pet’s poop can provide valuable information about their health and wellbeing. If you suspect that your pet is sick, one of the first things that our veterinary team will ask for is a sample of their poop so that it can be checked.
Fecal tests are primarily used in the detection and diagnosis of internal parasite problems. Internal parasites are creatures that live inside your pet’s body and thrive by draining nutrients directly from them. They are impossible to spot with the naked eye unless they pass out of your pet’s digestive tract via their bowels. There are many different types of internal parasites that can be detected using fecal tests. These include:
- Liver flukes
All of these internal parasites can have unpleasant consequences for your pet and even for your wider family. This because some types of worm, including roundworms and hookworms, can be transmitted to humans. Meanwhile, giardia can cause problems including severe diarrhea.
Fecal testing refers to a series of tests performed on a sample of your pet’s feces. There are various types of fecal testing available, including the following:
Smear. This is when approximately 0.5g of a stool sample is smeared onto a microscope slide. This slide is then examined under the microscope to check for visible evidence of parasites and bacteria. If this is found, it is usually indicative that your pet has a fairly moderate to serious parasite infestation.
Float. This involves mixing some of the stool samples with a special solution that filters out any big pieces of stool and enabling eggs or some types of parasites to float up to the top.
Centrifugation. A centrifuge is a special machine that spins the sample (which has been mixed with a sugar solution) at a very high number of revolutions per minute. This separates out various elements and enables eggs and parasites to be seen.
Not all poops are created equal, and it is essential that you collect an appropriate sample for fecal testing. If you don’t follow the guidelines about providing a proper sample, the one that you bring in may be rejected and we will have to ask you for an alternative. Fresh stool samples provide the most accurate results as some types of parasites begin to degrade and become unrecognizable if they are left out for too long. If you aren’t able to get one the same day, you can seal the sample in a container or bag and refrigerate it to keep it fresher for longer!
If you’d like more information about fecal testing, our veterinary team would be happy to help. Please contact our veterinary hospital in Duffield, VA by calling (276) 431-4838.