Think of all the things you do to keep your pooch or kitty healthy. You provide a safe home, a nutritious diet, and lots of exercise and engaging play. You love and comfort them. You get them to their wellness visits, keep their vaccines up to date, and make sure they have their flea and tick preventatives.
While it's never the most pleasant topic, part of your pet's regular wellness care should always include fecal testing. It's easy to put this important diagnostic screening off, because it's not always clear why it's needed - and frankly, most of us would rather not think about it.
Testing your pet's fecal sample lets your Brook Farm medical team detect parasites like:
Parasites need your cat or dog healthy to pass on their next generation so, in many cases, a parasitic infection will show no symptoms until it's become quite severe. By the time you notice weight loss, dull coat, rectal bleeding, bloody stools or diarrhea, your friend might also be suffering malnutrition, anemia, and pain.
Another point to consider is that keeping your furry family safe is keeping every one in the home safe - since some pet parasites can infect people.
Still not ready to drop off your pet's sample with the Brook Farm team? Let's look at some common myths we often hear.
"My cat is always indoors, he has no chance of getting any of those nasty worms!'
It's true that indoor pets have a much lower risk for exposure to parasites. But, that doesn't eliminate the risk entirely. Potting soil, roaches and household pests, and exposure to other companion animals are all various means of introducing a nasty worm infection to a house pet. Better safe than sick.
"But my dogs all take a heartworm preventative, they aren't going to get worms."
First of all --kudos for keeping your friends protected! Heartworm preventatives are fantastic and some do offer protection against certain intestinal parasites. But, as of now, no heartworm medication prevents against all intestinal worms.
"My dog had a fecal exam about 7 months ago and she tested negative then."
Since that last exam, has your pet been out for a walk? Has he or she been to a playgroup or spent time sniffing around puddles in the woods? The risk of exposure is always there, a part of most pets every day life. A negative test is a big relief but it isn't a reason to skip the next screening.
Parasites all have differing life cycles, too. So, eggs might not be shed continuously in stools. Your friend's safety is worth a second check.
"When we adopted the kitten, they told us he had been dewormed. Are you sure we need to test his poop now?"
Deworming often takes care of the problem - but not always. An aggressive infection might not respond to that initial treatment. Not every dewormer medicine works for every parasite, so knowing what type of eggs are in that stool really does make a difference.
Intestinal parasites are so common in kittens and puppies that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 4 fecal tests during the first year of a cat or dog's life.
When was your pet's last fecal screening? Call us any time to check or to ask for a kit--we provide everything you need, your pet does the rest!