Annual fecal exams give your veterinarian a chance to check your pet for intestinal parasites that can cause serious discomfort and illness in your pet. In some cases, these parasites can even be transmitted to people so it is important to catch them as soon as possible.
What is a fecal exam?
A fecal exam is a microscopic examination of your pet's feces, which is completed at your veterinarian's office. A yearly fecal exam will help your vet to identify and treat any infections that could be compromising your pet's health, and even the health of members of your household.
What do fecal exams detect?
Your vet will look for any signs of parasites such as hookworms and roundworms when performing fecal exams. These parasites can make pets irritable and uncomfortable and could lead to many more serious issues. A number of parasites may even be transmitted to people.
Intestinal parasites live in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, hiding them from view. That's why a fecal exam is the best way to detect their presence.
How do I prepare for my pet's fecal exam?
Get a fresh stool sample and bring it to your vet's office the same day, ideally within 4 to 6 hours for the most accurate results.
It's imperative not to allow the stool sample to dehydrate or dry out, since many of the potential parasites will be killed, which in turn can mask their presence.
How often does my pet need a fecal exam?
You should have your pet tested for internal parasites at least annually. Puppies and animals with gastrointestinal issues may need fecal exams more frequently. Ask your vet how often you should bring your pet's stool sample in for a fecal.