Why Does Your Pet Need an Annual Fecal?

We all know that your pet’s annual appointment and vaccines are part of keeping them happy and healthy, but a yearly fecal is equally as important. We recommend doing a fecal on your pet at least once a year. Running a fecal every year will ensure there are no intestinal parasites in your pet. Even on regular prevention, your pet could still pick up parasites from the environment and other animals. Because these parasites live in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, it is easy for them to be missed because we cannot see them like fleas or ticks. When we are screening fecal samples, we are looking for eggs or segments that are shed by the parasite and not the worm itself. So, just because you do not see worms in your pet’s stools does not mean they are not there.

At KVC we offer fecal’s that can detect:

  1. Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites we see in dogs. It is very common for puppies to be infested, and they can infest humans as well.
  2. Hookworms are a blood-feeding parasite that attaches to the lining of your pet’s intestinal tract. They are very small but can cause heavy infections that result in severe inflammation and blood loss.
  3. Tapeworms are an intestinal parasite that is usually contacted by your pet ingesting fleas.
  4. Whipworms are an intestinal parasite that lives primarily in the cecum, the attach to the lining of the intestine and feed on blood, other tissue fluids and the lining.
  5. Coccidia is a single-celled parasite that lives in the lining of the intestine and can be picked up from the environment as well as other pets.
  6. Giardia is a microscopic protozoan parasite that causes inflammation of the intestinal tract that can be very serious. It is transmitted by the ingestion of water or food contaminated by the stools of infected people and animals.

To have a fecal done at the clinic, we should have an up to date annual exam on your pet, but if you are unable to collect a sample the day of your appointment, you can always drop one off at a later time. You do not need any special containers; you just need to bring us a fresh sample in a poop bag, and we will take care of the rest. The fresher the sample, the better. If you are unable to bring the sample in right away, we recommend storing it in the fridge.

A fecal should be run annually. However, there are some times we recommend bringing one to your appointment so we can examine them immediately. If you are bringing your pet in because you see the following symptoms, we recommend bringing a fresh fecal sample with you. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, or your pet has been scooting on its hind end. Give the clinic a call to inquire about an annual fecal for your pet!

Written by: Miranda Mathieson, RVT