Your pet is scheduled for a routine veterinary exam—or maybe he or she is having a particular health problem, and you’ve decided to take your pet in to see what’s going on—and you are asked to do the unthinkable: to bring in a fecal sample.
If you aren’t already used to following your pet around with a plastic bag during walks, the thought of doing so—and much less keeping your pet’s feces in a bag in or near your home—may be cause for discomfort.
But the minor inconvenience you suffer to collect a fecal sample may make all the difference for major discomfort in your pet. Here are four reasons why fecal samples are such an important part of veterinary care.
Parasites can make your pet really, really sick. Not only that, but there are many different types of parasites your pet can contract: hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and liver flukes, to name a few.
Your pet can easily pick them up while licking something outside, drinking contaminated water, or from contact with infected animals. Luckily, fecal samples make it easier for veterinarians to locate parasites. This means faster treatment and less overall discomfort for your pet.
Parasites aren’t the only evildoers who can take up residence in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Single-celled organisms, such as coccidia and Giardia, bacteria like salmonella, and viruses such as parvovirus and coronavirus, as well as tapeworm, can also be found there.A fecal analysis can help your vet identify these creatures if the stool is abnormal or has an increased amount of bacteria.
Be ahead of the game.
If you aren’t bringing your pet in for diarrhea and other clinical signs of infection, an annual exam might help uncover parasites or organisms you and your pet don’t know are living in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Finding them before they make your pet sick allows for easier treatment.It’s all in the family.
Zoonotic organisms, such as roundworms and hookworms, can infect any animal—and that includes humans. As well as the possibility for everyone in your household to contract those parasites from your pet, Giardia and coccidia can also affect humans.
Identifying these organisms in your pet’s stool may save everyone in the household from a fit of diarrhea, vomiting, and unnecessary pain.So the next time you need to scoop—and save—your pet’s poop, know that it is for your pet’s and family’s well-being.