What is a fecal exam?
A fecal exam is a microscopic examination of your pet's stool, which is completed at your veterinarian's in-house lab. These annual fecals will help your vet to identify and treat any infections that could be compromising your pet's health, and even the health of members of your household.
What do fecals detect?
Your vet will look for any signs of parasites such as hookworms and roundworms when performing fecal exams. These parasites can make pets irritable and uncomfortable, and could lead to many more serious issues. A number of parasites may even be transmitted to people.
Intestinal parasites live in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, hiding them from view. That's why fecals are the best way to detect their presence.
How do I prepare for my pet's fecal?
Get a fresh stool sample and bring it to your vet's office the same day, ideally within 4 to 6 hours for the most accurate results.
It's imperative not to allow the stool sample to dehydrate or dry out, since many of the potential parasites will be killed, which in turn can mask their presence.
How often does my pet need a fecal?
You should have your pet tested for internal parasites at least annually. Puppies and animals with gastrointestinal issues may need fecal exams more frequently. Ask your vet how often you should bring your pet's stool sample in for a fecal.