The Importance of Fecal Exams

Fecal exams give your veterinarian the opportunity to check your dog or cat for intestinal parasites which are otherwise difficult to detect. Annual fecal testing is the best way to ensure that your pet and your family are safe from intestinal parasites. 

What is a fecal exam?

A fecal exam is a microscopic examination of your pet's feces sent out to an external laboratory to be checked. The primary goal of a fecal exam is to identify and treat any intestinal infections that could be compromising your pet's overall health.

What do fecal exams detect?

Fecal exams are used to determine if your dog or cat has intestinal parasites such as roundwormshookwormswhipwormscoccidia, and giardia. Parasites not only make pets uncomfortable and irritable; they could lead to more serious conditions for your pet or even be transmitted to family members.

Intestinal parasites live in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, hidden from view. Fecal exams are the quickest and most reliable way to test your pet for intestinal parasites.

If I do not see worms in my pet’s stool, how can they still have worms?

Most intestinal worms remain within the body and are not shed in the stool. Instead, these worms lay microscopic eggs that are shed into the environment. A fecal examination searches for these eggs.

How do I prepare for my pet's fecal exam?

Preparing for your pet's fecal exam is easy! Simply collect a fresh stool sample and bring it to our office for your appointment.

If the stool sample dries out, dehydrates, or becomes frozen, many of the potential parasites present may be killed, which could mask their presence and make the test results unreliable. For the most accurate results, it is best to bring your pet's stool sample into the office within 4 to 6 hours of collection.

How often does my pet need a fecal exam?

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), adult pets should be tested twice annually. Puppies and kittens with gastrointestinal issues may require more frequent fecal exams. Ask us how frequently you should bring in your pet’s stool sample for testing.