Fecal testing

Fecal tests are important to diagnose intestinal parasites in pets and can be run on fresh stool samples either in the clinic or at a reference lab. Most common parasites (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms) shed eggs regularly into the feces and can be found by “floating” them onto a slide using a special solution in the clinic. These parasites are also easily treated by routine “deworming” given in 3 week intervals until the fecal test is negative. However, these common “dewormers” do not treat infections such as Giardia and coccidia which require different, specific medications. Giardia is also very difficult to diagnose in the clinic, and is best tested for by sending a fecal sample to a reference lab for testing. Many heartworm preventatives also protect dogs and cats against the common intestinal parasites, but again, not against all infections, and yearly fecal testing is recommended to treat infections before they become infestations.