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should your dog have a fecal exam

Fecal Exams Can Detect Problems Before They Become Tragedies

Studies show exposure to parasites is a greater than ever and an annual fecal exam is important.

A fresh fecal examination is part of a sound yearly physical. Bring your dog’s clinician a fresh specimen, 4 to 6 hours old, not a desiccated “moon rock” or “fossil poop”. Drying out and dehydrating kills many of the potential parasites present and may mask their presence.

Recent studies show that most municipal city parks and public areas have a high incidence of canine gastrointestinal parasites (both worms and protozoans such as Giardia). Likewise, local ponds, lakes, creeks, and streams close to heavily populated areas also generally contain parasites that can affect our canine companions.

Grooming, boarding and day care facilities and dog parks provide even more possibilities for exposure. If you do participate in retrieving, hiking, cross-country skiing, jogging with your dog, agility, dog shows, etc., your dog’s exposure is even higher.

Infestation with intestinal parasites is no minor detail. Parasites can make dogs uncomfortable, irritable, and lead to other more serious conditions. Some can even be transmitted to humans.

A yearly fecal exam for your dog is thus an integral part of his yearly physical.

A version of this article originally appeared in AKC Family Dog’s “Ask Dr. Kevin” column by Kevin Fitzgerald, DVM.
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