Annual fecal exams at your pet's veterinary office are a great way to help keep your four-legged friend safe from intestinal parasites. In this post, our Sacramento vets discuss fecal exams and why they are important for your pet.

What is a fecal exam?

During a fecal exam, your veterinarian will use a microscope to examine your pet's feces. This can be done during their routine exam, or at any point throughout the year.

Following your dog or cat's fecal exam, your vet can diagnose and treat any infections that may be compromising your pet's health. Some parasites that can be seen in a fecal exam can also affect other pets and even humans living in the same house. 

What Fecal Exams Can Detect 

Parasites can make pets irritable and uncomfortable, and lead to more serious health problems, and even veterinary emergencies. Several parasites can even be transmitted to people, making regular fecal exams all the more important.

Intestinal parasites make their home in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, hidden from plain sight, making fecal exams the best way to detect them. When performing fecal exams for dogs or cats, your vet will check for any signs of parasites such as roundworms or hookworms. 

Preparing for Your Pet's Fecal 

Collect a fresh stool sample and bring it to your vet's office the same day, ideally within 4 to 6 hours. This will provide the most accurate results from testing. 

It's critical not to allow the stool sample to dry out or dehydrate. If it does dry out, many parasites will die, which can mask their presence when it comes time for the fecal. 

How Often Your Pet Should Have a Fecal 

We typically recommend scheduling a fecal exam for your cat or dog at least once a year. Puppies and animals with gastrointestinal issues may benefit from more frequent tests. Your veterinarian can recommend how often your pet should go in for testing. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have questions about how fecal exams can prevent or detect serious health issues from developing into more serious problems? Contact our Sacramento vets today.