Pet fecal tests are part of a robust preventative wellness routine. They can detect harmful parasites before they have a chance to cause too much havoc.

It’s not uncommon for your pets to have their feces examined from time to time. Your vet might ask you to bring in a sample for preventative care to try and get to the root of a health concern, such as finding out where intestinal parasites live or checking the gastrointestinal tract.

An annual fecal exam for both your dog and cat is the best way to avoid parasites or other health conditions that might be hidden from view on a regular blood test. These ailments can be hard to discover with a simple routine checkup.

What are pet fecal tests?

A pet fecal test is exactly what it sounds like. Veterinarians take a sample of your cat or dog’s poop and test it. They examine it for certain infections, parasites, and other potentially worrying signs.

This is important to do every once in a while as specific parasites contracted by dogs and cats can be passed to humans. Fecal tests should be done more often if the animal lives with young children, old adults, or anyone with a compromised immune system.

There are various types of pet fecal tests. Here are some your vet may carry out on your pet as part of pet wellness coverage:

Smear: This is when the vet smears a sample on a slide to inspect it under a microscope. They do this to see if they can spot an indication of parasites. Usually, if they can see something, it’s a sign the animal could have a severe intestinal infection.

Flotation: This method involves mixing the stool with different chemical elements. This creates a particular solution allowing parasite eggs and cysts to float. This is a standard method used among vets.

Centrifugation: This is typically  done before a floatation test as they will mix the stool sample with a sugar and salt solution. So when the floatation method is performed, the parasites can be identifiedmicroscopically.

What do pet fecal tests detect?

There are many illnesses and conditions that an animal fecal test can find. Usually, they’re testing for different intestinal parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms. These can make pets feel uncomfortable as well as lead to serious health conditions.

Many pet owners decide to get their animals tested every year for routine preventative care. It’s much easier to treat an illness or parasite when caught early.

How can I prepare and collect my pet’s stool?

Usually, the vet will ask you to collect the sample yourself and bring it to them. Scoop it up from your usual walk, or collect it right after the cat leaves the litter box (it’s okay if there is some litter on the sample).

You can bring the sample to the veterinary clinic in a plastic or doggy poop bag. Some people like double bagging or putting the sample in a container to avoid any messes, but it’s usually up to you and how you feel most comfortable transporting it.

The vet doesn’t need very much. The fresher the stool sample the better for getting accurate results. So try and bring the sample to your vet the same day it was collected.

What happens if they detect a parasite?

If the vet determines that your pet does have a parasite, don’t freak out. Many parasites are common and can be easily treated. Intenstinal parasites are treated with medication prescribed by your vet. You’ll also be recommended to give a dewormer to any other animals you have in the home or property. Parasites can be contagious and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How often should they get their feces tested?

It’s recommended to make pet fecal tests a part of your wellness routine. This is because a fecal test isn’t foolproof and can sometimes miss things. If you’re getting them done regularly then the chance of missing something is lowered.

The Animal Parasite Council suggests getting four tests during your pet’s first year, then two times a year after that. Of course, if a vet recommends more, you should follow their recommendations.

If your dog or cat is outside more often, then you might consider doing fecal tests more frequently than an indoor pet.
A Wagmo Pet Wellness plan can cover the costs of two vet visits a year and a fecal exam. A Wagmo Pet Insurance plan can cover the cost of any prescribed medication, x-rays, emergencyies costs, and additional laboratory tests. Mix and match our plans to find the best coverage for you.