What’s Hiding in Your Feline’s Feces and Your Pooch’s Poop …
We know that picking up your dog’s “business” or scooping out the cat’s litter box isn’t one of the many joys of pet ownership. Bringing a sample in to us to have it checked for parasites isn’t much fun either … but it is important! If it’s been over a year since you’ve had us run a fecal test for your dog or cat – or if you’ve never gotten around to bringing in that sample – now’s your chance! Throughout the month of May 2017, we want you to get the scoop on poop, so we’re offering a $5.50 discount off of the regular price of a Fecal/Giardia test from now until May 31st. This discount will be automatically applied to all stool samples we test during May.
Why are fecal tests so important? Even a healthy-looking pet can be harboring worms! Intestinal parasites can cause illness in your pet, and some of these parasites can be transmitted to people and cause serious illness. Your cat can get internal parasites from eating a flea while grooming, eating rodents or insects, or from ingesting contaminated soil or water. Indoor-only pets, while at a lower risk, can still be exposed to parasites from pets that do spend time outdoors, or even from people bringing in parasite eggs from outside. Dogs can step in feces outside, lick their feet, and ingest parasites. Even your indoor plants can present a risk: did you know that 15% of potting soil contains roundworm eggs??
One of the most common parasitic diseases in the U.S. can be transmitted by our pets. Toxocariasis is a parasitic worm infection that results from the accidental ingestion of parasite eggs passed in the feces of infected dogs and cats. Children are particularly vulnerable to Toxocara parasites.
Some of the most common kinds of intestinal parasites seen in pets in the United States include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, giardia, coccidia, and whipworms (the latter infects only dogs.) The majority of these parasites are not visible to the naked eye, so we have to look for their eggs or “cysts” under a microscope. Parasite eggs are not shed continuously; therefore, a fecal sample in which no eggs or cysts are seen does not 100% rule out the existence of parasites.
Some indications of parasite infestation in your pet are:
- Bloody or watery diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Potbellied appearance (especially in puppies or kittens)
- In severe cases (heavy parasite load) pneumonia, anemia, and intestinal blockages may occur, and can potentially be fatal
- Sometimes there are no symptoms at all!
Treatment for most intestinal parasites is relatively simple; unfortunately, there is no individual deworming medication that will treat every single type of parasite all at once, so testing a fecal sample from your pet will enable us to treat your pet most effectively. Remember, the best wellness plan includes regular parasite screening, so take advantage of our special offer in May! For more information about pets and parasites, check out this link.