A fecal examination is the microscopic evaluation of feces. The test is indicated for pets with diarrhea, straining, lack of appetite or vomiting. Annual fecal examinations are recommended on all animals as part of a yearly health exam. Fecal examinations are also recommended on all puppies and kittens
There is no contraindication to performing this test. Negative results help determine health or may exclude the presence of disease and gastrointestinal parasites.
What Does a Fecal Examination Reveal or Demonstrate?
Fecal examinations are primarily performed to detect microscopic gastrointestinal parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Giardia, coccidia and tapeworms. Some abnormal parasites known as spirochetes or flagellates can also be detected.
A positive test result indicates gastrointestinal parasitic disease. Negative results from one fecal sample may be misleading. Some parasites do not shed eggs consistently so some samples may be negative even though the animal actually has a parasitic infection. Repeated fecal examinations may be necessary to detect some elusive parasites.
How Is a Fecal Examination Done?
In order to perform a fecal examination, a fecal sample needs to be obtained. The easiest way to do this would be to pick up a sample of feces after the pet has eliminated. Fresh samples will give the most information.