What’s With The Poop Sample?
According to the CDC, approximately 10,000 people in the USA are infected with worms from dogs and cats each year. These worms can result in severe illness in both your pets and your family.
No matter how clean you keep your pet or their environment they are at risk of exposure and infection.
Your pet can become infected by
- ingesting eggs while grooming or playing in the grass,
- the eggs you carry into your home on your shoes or clothing
- by larvae that can penetrate your pet’s skin while it is resting or sleeping.
Worm eggs are very hardy and can survive in the environment for months or even years. Complete elimination of parasites from the environment is unrealistic.
Pet owners can greatly reduce the chance of infection by:
- Cleaning up after your pet.
Pick up after your pet on walks and in dog parks. Too many pet owners fail to see the risk they put their family and community in when they do not pick up fecal matter left their pets. This should be done EVERY TIME your pet has a bowel movement, whether in your yard, the park or next to the street.
- Cleaning the cat’s litter box every day.
Wear gloves, especially if you are pregnant, while cleaning the litterbox. Litterboxes that are cleaned daily have little chance of harboring harmful parasites, in particular, toxoplasmosis.
- Not allowing your pet to roam free where it may be exposed to the feces of other animals.
Wildlife carry many of the same parasites as companion pets. Pets that are allowed to roam and hunt are at greater risk of exposure to parasites.
- Keeping your dog on a heartworm preventative year round.
Some heartworm preventatives have the added benefit of controlling intestinal parasites as well.
- Having a fecal sample checked yearly.
Bring a stool sample from your pet at least once a year to have it screened for intestinal parasites. Please be aware that most intestinal parasites can only be seen with the aid of a microscope. So just because you “Don’t see any worms.”, doesn’t mean your pet is parasite free. The annual physical exam is a great opportunity to have us run a fecal test.
Only a small amount of fecal material is necessary for testing. Ask us for a convenient, easy-to-use fecal collector – your hands never need to get dirty. Otherwise, any clean container will do. Be creative!
If you have multiple adult dogs/cats who have lived with each other for over a year, then one sample collected from each species should be checked. Often if one has parasites, they all do. So don’t worry about which pet the fecal sample came from, because all same species pets will be dewormed if the sample tests positive for parasites. However, puppies and kittens should have their own stool sample tested. We know that almost all young pets have parasites, and we want to be certain that the dewormings they have received have been affective.
Try to bring in the freshest fecal sample possible, no older than 24 hours. If you cannot get a sample immediately to us, keep it refrigerated.