Having your vet perform fecal exams during your pet's annual wellness exam is an important part of preventive care. Our Fountain Valley vets discuss why your pet should have routine fecal exams.
What are fecal exams?
Your vet will perform a fecal exam which is a microscopic examination of your pet's feces during their routine wellness exams. Your vet will use the results of these annual fecals to diagnose and treat any parasitic infections that might possibly be affecting the health of all those in your home, whether animal or human.
Your vet will visually inspect for any noticeable signs of common parasites such as hookworms and roundworms while performing fecal exams. Many of these parasites can be transmitted to both yourself and any other animals that your pet has had contact with and can be causing your pet various symptoms, some of which can be concerning.
These parasites typically live internally within the intestines which is why fecals are the ideal way to detect their presence.
How do I prepare my pet for a fecal?
If possible it is recommended to provide your vet with a sample of your pet's feces which is as fresh as possible, preferably within the past 4-6 hours at most.
If the fecal sample has had a chance to begin to dehydrate it is possible that it will no longer be optimal for parasite detection as many parasites will begin to die off as the stool sample dries out.
How often should a fecal be performed?
At the very least, fecal exams are recommended on an annual basis most commonly during your pet's annual wellness exams. It is common for your vet to suggest that puppies and animals suffering from gastrointestinal issues to have fecal exams more frequently. Your vet will be able to recommend the best schedule for fecal exams based on your pet's specific health needs.