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The Importance of Regular Fecal Exams for Pets

The Importance of Regular Fecal Exams for Pets

To keep your pets and home free from parasitic infections, it's recommended to have yearly fecal exams. Our vets at Fort Pierce can provide an explanation of the exam process and its significance in maintaining your pet's well-being.

What is a fecal exam?

Fecal exams, or "fecals," are microscopic examinations of your pet's feces. Fecals help vets to identify and treat infections that may otherwise be difficult to detect. Your veterinarian may ask you to bring a sample of your cat or dog's feces if they are trying to diagnose an illness in them or for a routine wellness examination.

Annual fecal exams for dogs are important because of the amount of time dogs tend to spend outdoors, which exposes them to more bacteria and parasites left in the environment by other dogs. Cat fecal exams are important for a similar reason, though indoor cats in particular are more likely to contract parasites from eating something they're not supposed to.

What do fecals detect?

Detecting intestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms in pets is possible through a fecal exam. These parasites can cause discomfort and irritability to pets and may lead to severe health problems. It is important to note that some of these parasites can also be harmful to humans.

These parasites reside in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, making them difficult to detect. However, regular annual fecal exams can help your veterinarian identify and treat them at an early stage. Additionally, you should look out for symptoms of parasitic infection in your cats and dogs, although annual fecal exams are still necessary.

  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Food avoidance
  • Excessive hunger
  • Blood in stool

How do I prepare for my pet's fecal?

When taking a fecal sample to the veterinarian, it's important to bring a recently collected sample of your pet's stool on the same day of your appointment. If the sample dries out or dehydrates, it could eliminate potential parasites, making it difficult to detect their presence. For the most precise results, we recommend bringing your pet's stool sample to us within 4-6 hours of collection.

How often does my pet need a fecal exam?

According to our veterinarians across all locations, it is recommended that dogs and cats undergo annual parasite testing. However, puppies and pets with gastrointestinal problems may need to undergo more frequent fecal exams. It is advisable to consult your vet to determine how often you need to bring in your pet's stool sample for testing.

To get a fecal exam completed for your pet, contact our Fort Pierce veterinarians to book an appointment.

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Sunrise City Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fort Pierce companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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