Vets in Sudbury Discuss the Importance of Fecal Testing
Have you ever wondered why Vets in Sudbury at the Barrydowne Animal Hospital ask to see a fecal sample from your dog or cat? Why the interest in your pet’s poop? Annual fecal examinations are highly recommended as part of your pet’s health exam to help detect gastrointestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, Coccidia and Giardia. These organisms can live, grow and feed in the intestinal tract of your pet, affecting your dog or cat’s nutrition and causing symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, anemia, and in severe cases, even death. Vets in Sudbury say that the best way to find these unwelcome guests is by testing a fresh fecal sample to detect the presence of any eggs. That is why your veterinarian is so interested in your dog’s poop!!
Vets in Sudbury know there are many different ways that your pets can become exposed to parasites. Whether your pet is still young or just young at heart he can become infected through direct contact with the feces of a host animal as the parasites will shed their eggs in the animal’s poop. It can then be transmitted through contaminated soil, water or plants and can exist in the environment for many months. Unfortunately, when your furry friend stops for a taste test, he may end up with more than just bad breath!! Vets in Sudbury know that some parasites will infect rodents and birds, so if your dog or cat is a hunter and happens to catch and sample one of these creatures, your pet can also contract these parasites. If mothers are infected, these parasites can also be transmitted to puppies and kittens when they are nursing, and puppies can even become exposed in their mother’s womb during fetal development. Tapeworms can also be contracted by ingesting fleas. If your pet has fleas, chances are they may have tapeworms as well. If you are not totally turned off yet, there is more to come!
In some cases, adult worms can be seen in your pet’s poop or even in their vomit. Definitely not a pretty sight!! Vets in Sudbury know that parasites like Coccidia and Giardia as well as worm eggs cannot be seen by the naked eye. In order to detect these unwanted guests, the stool samples are mixed with a special solution and observed under a microscope. Some parasites do not shed eggs consistently and therefore, some samples may seem negative even though the animal actually has an infection. It’s for that reason that Vets in Sudbury prescribe a preventative dewormer in all puppies or kittens every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, and once monthly until 6 months of age. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!!
It is important to ensure that your pet is parasite free as some parasites are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted to people too. Definitely not the kind of gift you want from your pet!! In severe cases, they can cause some serious medical problems such as skin eruptions, blindness, internal organ damage and brain damage. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk. To help protect your pet and your family, our Vets inSudburyat the Barrydowne Animal Hospital suggest trying these simple steps:
– Always wash your hands after disposing of feces.
– Use a monthly heartworm preventive that also targets gastrointestinal parasites.
– Pick up your dog’s poop ASAP to reduce the risk of environmental contamination.
– Clean your cat’s litter box frequently to reduce the risk of being re-infected or spreading the parasites to other cats in the house. We don’t need to share the love!!
– Cover sandboxes when not being used to prevent outdoor cats or strays to use them like a litter box.
– Encourage children to wash their hands after playing outside and before eating.
– Try to prevent your pets from killing and eating rodents and other small animals.
– Do not let your pets drink lake or river water that may be contaminated by other animal’s feces.
– Test any new pet for parasites before letting them meet any other pets in your home.
Vets in Sudbury suggest that your pet’s routine wellness examination and yearly vaccines is a convenient time to test your dog or cat’s stool for parasites. For more information please contact our Vets in Sudbury at 705-566-4243 or visit our website at www.barrydowneanimalhospital.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BarrydowneAnimalHospital. Have a happy and parasite free summer from the staff at the Barrydowne Animal Hospital!!