Fecal Test for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
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Taking care of our furry friend's health requires regular trips to the vet. One important thing done during these visits is fecal tests for dogs. This test looks at your dog's poop to check for any parasites or gastrointestinal abnormalities.
In this guide, you'll be provided information on what the test involves, how it's carried out, how often it's needed, and the various types of parasites it can find.
- Regular fecal tests are crucial to detect parasites and gastrointestinal issues in dogs during veterinary check-ups.
- Fecal tests involve analyzing a fresh stool sample, identifying parasite eggs under a microscope, and helping to initiate timely treatment.
- Annual fecal tests are recommended for dogs, with more frequent testing advised for puppies and newly adopted dogs due to their increased vulnerability to parasites.
What are Fecal Tests for Dogs?
A fecal test for dogs is a procedure where veterinarians employ microscopic examinations of the feces to spot intestinal parasites and various gastrointestinal problems. This non-invasive technique is important for uncovering worms and other parasites residing in the dog's intestines.
After identifying these issues, veterinarians can provide the appropriate treatment, ensuring the dog's health and minimizing the chance of transmitting these parasites to other animals or people.
How are Dog Fecal Tests Performed?
To perform a fecal test for dogs, veterinarians require a fresh stool sample from the dog, ideally less than 24 hours old and free of grass or dirt. The sample is mixed with a special liquid to dissolve and separate the stool, causing any parasite eggs to float to the surface. The floating material is then examined under a microscope to identify worm eggs or other parasites.
How Often Should a Dog Take a Fecal Test?
Fecal parasite testing should be performed at least once a year for dogs. However, in certain situations, more frequent testing may be necessary. Puppies and newly adopted dogs should have fecal tests performed more frequently, as they are more susceptible to parasites. Your veterinarian can provide specific recommendations based on your dog's individual needs.
Quick and Easy In-Home Lab Work for Your Pet
With in-home diagnostic testing, your fur baby can stay comfortable while we perform any necessary blood work.
What Parasites Can Be Found in a Fecal Test for Dogs?
A fecal test for dogs is designed to uncover a variety of intestinal parasites. These can include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, giardia, and coccidia. Here's a list further explaining them:
These are a type of worms that live in your dog’s gut, feeding on the food that they have eaten. In large numbers, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even intestinal blockages, particularly in puppies and young dogs. However, in small numbers or adult dogs, they may cause no symptoms.
Roundworms can be caught from eggs in the poop of other dogs, cats, or wildlife. In rare cases, humans can also catch roundworms from dogs, leading to severe issues, including blindness and liver disease.
These worms also live in dogs’ intestines, but instead of living free like roundworms, they attach themselves directly to the wall of your dog’s gut. There, they will feed off tiny amounts of blood. In small numbers, these often cause no symptoms, but in more significant numbers, they can cause severe anemia, especially in puppies or dogs who are sick for another reason.
Dogs can catch these worms from other dogs’ poop by eating them or walking in areas where infected dogs have recently pooped. They can occasionally pass to humans, too.
These parasites are worms that live in dogs’ large intestines and can cause severe irritation, leading to watery, often bloody diarrhea. Over time, this can lead to weight loss, malnutrition, and eventually sepsis and death in severe cases.
Dogs can catch Whipworms by eating their eggs. These eggs are found in infected dogs’ poop but can survive outside for years, so dogs can be infected without coming into direct contact with the poop.
Giardia is a parasite from a family of organisms called protozoa. They attach themselves to the wall of the intestines and feed on the food that the dog has eaten. This irritates the intestines, leading to diarrhea in dogs. This can be severe in young or sick dogs and cause weight loss and other issues.
Dogs can become infected by swallowing cysts (tiny immature parasites similar to worm eggs) left behind in the poop of infected dogs. Like whipworm eggs, these can survive outdoors for long periods. Humans can also sometimes become infected with giardia, even from dogs who are not showing any symptoms.
These are other kinds of protozoan parasites that live in the cells that line dogs’ intestines. Several species of coccidia can cause disease in dogs. Some exclusively infect dogs, but others can infect cats, humans, and other wildlife. They cause diarrhea which can be unpleasant but is usually limited in healthy dogs.
Coccidia cysts can be picked up from poop or soil where dogs, cats, or other wildlife have previously pooped.
Why Are Fecal Tests a Requirement for Dog Boarding?
Many worms that can cause sickness in our dogs can be caught by other infected dogs even if they do not show any symptoms. In a dog boarding facility, you often have many dogs pooping in the same place, so one infected dog could pass their parasites onto many others.
The best way to avoid this is to check all dogs for parasites before entering the boarding facilities. This means that fecal tests are usually required for dog boarding at most reputable establishments.
Fecal testing helps to protect dogs who are boarding from a whole range of different parasites. This means that most high-quality businesses will make a recent fecal sample one of their dog boarding requirements.
Regular fecal tests are important for your dog's health. These tests find parasites and stomach issues early, so they can be treated fast and stop spreading to other dogs and people.
If you notice signs that your dogs might have parasites, the best thing to do is to schedule a lab test with a vet.