All pets are at risk for contracting intestinal parasites - even indoor ones.
Some intestinal parasites are zoonotic - meaning that humans can get them, too.
Fecal Sample FAQs
How is my pet's feces tested?
First, the stool sample is visually examined for adult worms or tapeworm segments.
Then, a small amount of fresh feces is mixed with a special solution of zinc sulfate. We strain the mixture to remove excess waste material, pour the sample into a tube, and spin it in a centrifuge for several minutes. Centrifugation allows parasite eggs to float to the top of the tube and stick to a small piece of glass. We place the glass onto a slide and examine it under a microscope to look for and identify the eggs.
Depending on your dog's symptoms, the veterinarian may also recommend additional testing to detect Giardia or to diagnose certain gastrointestinal diseases.
What intestinal parasites are you looking for?
We most commonly see roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and coccidia. Giardia can sometimes be identified using centrifugation, but ELISA testing is the preferred method for symptomatic pets.
How do I collect my pet's stool sample?
Should I refrigerate the sample?
Refrigeration is ideal if you can't get the sample right to us. Just don't freeze it or leave it out in the sun; extreme temperatures can degrade the sample and make it unreliable for diagnostic use.
I have multiple cats that share a litterbox. What if I don't know whose stool I have?
If your cats are all feeling well, we can test what you bring us. If parasites are detected, it is safe to deworm all of the cats as a precaution.
However, if you are finding abnormal stool or if one of your cats is not feeling well, it would be best to separate the cats to ensure that we are testing the symptomatic cat's feces.
Special Notes for Cat Owners:
We know, it's a stinky job. But checking your pet's stool at least once a year is an easy way to keep your furry friends - and your family - in good health!