Taking your pet to the park should be a fun time for you and your furry friend to run around and enjoy yourselves. However, it’s important to be cautious as city parks and other public areas can have a high risk of gastrointestinal parasites. If your pet picks up one of these parasites, it can lead to significant health consequences. This is just one reason why a fecal test is an important component of your pet’s healthcare program when you bring them into Dr. Keshava Eega and the team at Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital & Grooming in Riverview, Florida. A fecal test allows our team to detect any infection present so we can take the action needed to protect your pet’s well-being. Additionally, services like pet sitters or doggy day care often require a negative fecal test result before they will admit your pet. We would like to explain why a fecal test is so important for your pet.
Fecal testing is how your local veterinarian can detect intestinal parasites in your pet. These are common for dogs and cats and can even transfer to humans in some cases. The parasites which can be detected in a fecal test include:
- Roundworms: A roundworm is one of the most common parasites found in pets. A roundworm can be transmitted to your pet in numerous ways, including through their mother’s placenta and milk, ingesting eggs that are larvated in their environment, and eating smaller creatures infected by ringworm. Young dogs, particularly puppies, are more vulnerable to contracting ringworm due to their susceptibility to certain situations. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of weight, poor hair coat, and the appearance of a pot belly.
- Hookworms: Hookworms can be transmitted to pets if they ingest larvae from dirt or if the larvae penetrate their skin. These blood-sucking parasites can cause significant blood loss in puppies and kittens. Signs of hookworm infestation include weight loss, diarrhea, and weakness. Hookworms can also infect humans, and they are incredibly problematic because they tend to resist common dewormers. These drug-resistant hookworms were prevalent in racing greyhound communities but have since spread to the general animal population.
- Whipworms: A whipworm can be transmitted to your pet if it ingests a substance contaminated by infected fecal matter. A whipworm will attach to and begin to irritate your pet’s colon and cecum. Symptoms of whipworm infestation include diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and bloody stools.
- Giardia: Animals usually contract Giardia by ingesting fecal-contaminated water or substances. Symptoms of giardia infestation can include diarrhea, weight loss, and a reduced hair coat.
How Are Fecal Tests Performed?
Because larvae, worm eggs, and protozoan cysts are not possible for one to see by eyesight alone, fecal testing employs methods to detect these parasites. These methods include:
- Smears: A small fecal sample is collected from your pet and smeared onto a microscope slide. This slide is then examined at a microscopic level, looking for signs of parasitic infestation.
- Flotation: A fecal sample is collected and added to a special solution. The parasitic eggs and protozoan cysts will float to the surface before being identified under a microscope.
- Centrifugation: A method that involves taking a fecal sample and then spinning it in a very dense salt solution using a centrifuge followed by a fecal flotation.
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Dr. Keshava Eega
Pavilion Crossing Animal Hospital
Dr. Keshava Eega moved to the United States in 2003 to further his passion for practicing high-quality and modern veterinary medicine in a challenging environment. Having graduated from the College of Veterinary Science in Hyderabad, India, he then completed his Master’s in Animal Science and the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam in 2006. Dr. Eega then completed his clinical rotations at the Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine and subsequently obtained his license to practice Veterinary Medicine in the state of Florida. Dr. Eega possesses thirteen years of experience in corporate practice in Orlando as both an Associate Veterinarian and a Lead Doctor. Through the course of his tenure, he has gained vast and widespread experience and exposure in both the practice of high-quality veterinary medicine and soft tissue surgeries. He also possesses professional interests in preventive care, senior pet care, skin cases, nutrition, behavior and wellness exams, particularly for both cats and dogs. Dr. Eega also possesses Fear Free certification which enables him to rid pets, owners and even veterinary health care teams of fear, stress, and anxiety. Hence, in the hands of Dr. Eega, you can be assured that your pet receives modern, customized care in a comfortable environment!