Fecal testing for intestinal parasites is an important yearly test to check your pet for parasites that live in the intestines. Intestinal parasites can harm the health of your pet and even infect humans. Some of the parasites that fecal testing detects are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, coccidia, whipworms, and giardia.
Why Fecal Testing is Essential
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 30% of dogs younger than 6 months and 25% of cats in the U.S. have Toxocara eggs in their poop. Toxocara eggs hatch into roundworm and can damage an animal’s heart, lungs, liver, muscles, and brain. It was also reported that nearly 15% of people in the U.S. also become infected with Toxocara and that rates of toxocariasis are high among dog owners.
The only way to know if your dog, cat, or other pet is infected with intestinal parasites is to check their poop.
Signs that Pets are Infected with Parasites
However, you may notice some signs that your pet has parasites and that you should arrange for a fecal test at your local vet clinic. Some of the signs that your pet has a parasitic infection are:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dry hair
- Vomiting (you may even notice some worms in the vomit)
- General poor appearance
In many cases, though, your pet can have intestinal parasites or worms without showing any outward symptoms. That is why you should have their poop tested yearly for intestinal parasites.
How Vets Check for Intestinal Parasites
Your vet will tell you how to collect poop to test for different kinds of worms and parasites. Usually, you should collect fresh stool and take it to your veterinary clinic the same day for testing. The good news is that you don’t need very much. Usually, about a teaspoon is all that is needed to check for parasite infections.
How to Prevent Intestinal Parasites in Pets
Your pet picks up intestinal parasites by consuming parasite larvae and eggs and it can be difficult to prevent intestinal parasites. These can enter your pet’s intestinal system by them licking themselves, eating contaminated food, or coming into contact with other animal’s feces.
You can help prevent your pet picking up parasite larvae by keeping your yard free from dog poop and emptying litter boxes weekly.
You should also follow instructions carefully of any wormers that your vet gives you. Also, if you have any concerns about intestinal parasites or internal worms in your pet, you should speak with your local vet.