Have you ever wondered why we ask so many questions about your pet’s bowel movements, and ask you to bring a sample to annual wellness visits? Feces, also referred to as stool or poop, can provide us with a lot of valuable insight about the health of your pet.
Why do we ask so many questions about it?
Commonly, we will ask you if your pet has been having diarrhea, if they strain to defecate, how often they go, and what it looks like. Your answers to these questions help give us insight into your pet’s gastrointestinal function and health. If your pet has been having issues, these questions can help us narrow down what may be causing or contributing to the problem.
How do we examine fecal samples?
The first thing we do when evaluating your pet’s sample is look at the color and consistency. We also take note of whether or not there is any obvious foreign material in the sample. Next, we do a “floatation” of the sample by mixing it in a solution that allows any parasite eggs to float to the top of the sample and settle onto the slide, and then view the slide under a microscope to check for any eggs. Parasites we may find include:
Why should you have an annual fecal test done for your pet?
Fecal testing is a simple but crucial tool that helps us ensure your pet is free of parasites. This is important not only to the health of your pet, but also for the entire household. Some of these intestinal parasites are zoonotic, meaning that they can infect humans too. Young children in particular are especially susceptible to this.
What is the best way to collect a sample?
Try to get the sample within 24 hours of your appointment. The more fresh the sample is, the better for evaluating. You can walk your dog on a leash until they poop, and use a plastic bag or container to catch it or pick it up and store it in. Be sure to bring it to your appointment!