We all know the importance of making sure our dogs' vaccinations are updated every year, but what about annual fecal tests? Let's discuss the importance of dog fecal tests and what they exactly test for.
Why do our Dogs Need Fecal Tests?
You can tell a lot about an animal by its droppings. Scientists use fecal test all over the world to study wildlife. Mammal fecal tests can tell researchers essential information on animals' reproductive status, availability of local foods, parentage, and the presence of various diseases in a population.
With our dogs, fecal tests are mostly used to test for diseases and parasites. Often, these diseases and parasites can be discovered early before dogs begin showing symptoms.
What do Canine Fecal Tests Test for?
In routine fecal tests, veterinarians look for various parasites such as whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, coccidia, and giardia. Many of these parasites are zoonotic, meaning they can be transferred from your dog to you.
Intestinal parasites are the number one cause of infections in dogs in the United States. In fact, it's a fairly normal and common occurrence, which is why puppies are automatically dewormed in most veterinary practices. However, when these parasites are not treated, they can cause serious problems later on.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parasites in Dogs
When a pup's gut becomes overrun with parasites, they often show clinical symptoms such as lack of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, dogs can also become anemic, lose weight, and puppies can have stunted growth. It is even possible for a dog to die from intestinal parasites, though this is rare.
Biannual fecal tests help catch these pesky parasites early, often before symptoms even begin.
How do Dogs Catch Parasites?
Depending on the parasite, there are a number of ways for dogs to catch parasites. The most common ways are through direct contact with infected feces, drinking stagnant water outdoors, or ingesting carriers such as fleas. Because of this, monthly flea and tick prevention is also essential in preventing intestinal parasites. This is also why we require negative fecal tests every 6 months for our daycare pups here at Martha's Garden!
How to Stay Safe
Monthly flea and tick prevention and biannual fecal tests at a veterinarian are crucial to your dog's health. Remember to always wash your hands after cleaning after your dog and try to keep your pup from ingesting feces or stagnant water.