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The Importance of Regular Fecal Exams for Pets

Our Douglasville veterinarians explain what happens during a fecal exam and why they are important to maintaining your pet's health. They also discuss the most effective way to protect your pets and home from harmful parasites. 

What is a fecal exam?

Fecal exams, also known as "fecals," are tests veterinarians conduct by examining a small sample of your pet's feces under a microscope. These examinations help the vets to identify and treat infections that might otherwise be difficult to detect. If your veterinarian is trying to diagnose an illness in your cat or dog or conducting a routine wellness examination, they may ask you to bring a sample of your pet's feces. 

It's important to do a fecal exam for dogs every year because they spend a lot of time outdoors, where they can pick up bacteria and parasites from other dogs. Even indoor cats should have fecal exams, especially if they eat things they shouldn't, as they may get parasites.

What do fecals detect?

Numerous intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms, can be identified through a fecal examination. These parasites can cause discomfort and irritability in pets and may eventually lead to serious health problems.

It's important to note that some intestinal parasites can also be transmitted to humans from pets.

Intestinal parasites reside in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, making them hard to detect. Annual fecal exams help in the early detection and treatment of any parasitic infections.

In addition to getting annual fecal exams, cats and dogs should be monitored for certain symptoms of parasitic infections.

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Food avoidance
  • Excessive hunger
  • Blood in stool

How do I prepare for my pet's fecal?

When providing a fecal sample to the vet, it is important to ensure the sample is fresh and collected on the same day as the appointment. If the stool sample dries out or gets dehydrated, it can reduce the chances of detecting parasites, and this could lead to the wrong diagnosis. Therefore, it is recommended that you bring your pet's stool sample to us within 4-6 hours of collecting it. This will ensure that the test results are as accurate as possible.

How often does my pet need a fecal?

Our veterinarian in Douglasville recommends that dogs and cats be tested yearly for parasites. More frequent fecal exams may be required for puppies and animals with gastrointestinal issues. We suggest discussing with your vet to determine how often you should bring your pet's stool sample 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.

To complete your pet's fecal exam, contact our Douglasville veterinarians to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Douglasville Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Douglasville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (770) 942-9974