The importance of regular fecal exams for pets

Discover hidden parasites within your pet's gut and prevent potential health problems with annual fecal exams at your Seattle veterinary clinic. These exams allow your vet to identify internal parasites that may be causing discomfort and illness for your beloved dog or cat, safeguarding their well-being from developing more severe conditions.

What is a fecal exam?

A fecal exam is a microscopic examination of your pet's poop done at the vet's office. By doing this test every year, your vet can find and treat any infections that might harm your pet's health or your family's health.

How Serious are Intestinal Parasites?

Intestinal parasites can have different effects on dogs, which depend on the type of parasite and the dog's overall health. Common effects of these parasites include:

  • Roundworm infections in adult dogs are usually symptomless. However, in young dogs or heavily infected adults, there may be signs like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, a dull coat, and a potbellied appearance. Additionally, roundworm larvae move through the lungs during their life cycle, which can cause coughing.
  • Hookworms attach to the intestinal wall, feeding on their host's blood. As a result, the primary impact of hookworms is anemia, which leads to tiredness, frailty, and pale gums. Additionally, weight loss and the presence of blood in the stool are frequently seen.
  • Whipworms can lead to bloody diarrhea in dogs, along with weakness and progressive debilitation.
  • Giardia, a tiny parasite, can lead to intense watery diarrhea. It might come with vomiting and weight loss too.
  • Coccidia is a type of infection caused by a tiny parasite. While it usually doesn't show any symptoms in healthy adults, it can lead to diarrhea and other signs of sickness in puppies or adults who are weak or not in good health.

How do I prepare for my pet's fecal?

To ensure accurate results, collecting a fresh stool sample and taking it to your vet's office on the same day, preferably within 4 to 6 hours is important. Avoid letting the sample dry out as this can kill potential parasites and hide their presence. 

How often does my pet need a fecal exam?

We suggest getting your pet tested for internal parasites at least once a year. Puppies and animals with digestive problems may require more frequent fecal exams. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate frequency for bringing in your pet's stool sample for testing.

Is your pet due for their annual fecal exam? Book an appointment at Madison Park Veterinary Hospital today.