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Fecal Examinations

Linwood Animal Clinic encourages its patients to have a fecal examination performed on a yearly basis. While poop is unquestionably the one aspect of pet ownership that most people don’t want to delve into as a subject for in-depth discussion, it is an important issue where an animal’s health is concerned. Today’s blog entry is going to discuss intestinal parasites and the importance of fecal examination, and I promise I’ll try to keep the infantile poo-humor to a minimum. Educating and informing our client base, after all, is just one of my many duties. (Haha, many doodies.)

“Worms” is a general term often used to describe a variety of intestinal parasites, many of which may require different methods of treatment, and all of which may be present in your pet’s digestive tract without you knowing it. While animals do occasionally shed live worms in their excrement, the actual worms occupying an animal’s system are rarely evident in a stool sample without subjecting it to microscopic examination: some worms are only detectable by the presence of their extremely small eggs in the stool, and some fully-grown parasites are themselves so small that they’re not visible to the naked eye.

Intestinal parasites can be transferred in a variety of ways, making an unprotected pet especially vulnerable to them. The most common method of transferal by dogs and cats is accidental ingestion of parasite eggs. This can occur while animals sniff and bathe one another, or even while they’re just nosing around a yard where another animal has recently defecated. Worms can also be transferred via bites by insects (e.g. fleas, mosquitos) or by the consumption of rodents like rats and mice. In short, your pet is always at risk of contracting an intestinal parasite infestation unless you take measures to prevent or treat it.

Preventatives against a variety of worms are included in several flea treatments available via prescription at Linwood Animal Clinic. Two medications called Trifexis and Sentinel, in addition to protecting dogs against fleas and heartworms, both also prevent hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. Revolution protects cats against fleas, ear mites, and heartworms, but also roundworms and hookworms.

As an extra protective measure, though, Linwood veterinarians encourage pet owners to have their animals’ fecal samples tested microscopically on a yearly basis. Since many pets aren’t treated preventatively, and since some parasites are not easily prevented by available meds, it’s important to know whether an animal has an infestation that needs to be treated. While the pet may seem outwardly healthy, parasites can cause gastric upset, anemia, and weight loss, so it’s important for an animal’s health and comfort that parasites not be allowed to overrun their system. A quick fecal test once a year is an easy way to protect against these issues.

microscope

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