Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Why is Your Veterinarian Fascinated with Pets Feces?

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Sleuth the VNN Reporter Dog

Sleuth the Reporter Dog works hard to make sure he stays healthy, but he also knows that his health could have a direct impact on the health of his whole, human family.  So, when Sleuth’s veterinarian asks for a fecal sample, he obviously obliges.  Here’s what Sleuth has found out about why veterinarians will check stool specimens so frequently.

1)    It’s not a fun or even appetizing topic to discuss, but veterinarians do need to check fecal samples from your pets.  We are looking for hookworms, whipworms, roundworms or even protozoan parasites, such as giardia or coccidia.

2)    Some people will say that their pets are fine and don’t need this important test, but the fact is that these parasites are often microscopic.  In addition, we don’t look for the whole adult worm in the feces, but rather the eggs that are shed.  This is where the true problem lies!

3)    Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Controls reports that several thousand people are checked for roundworm and hookworm infestation every year.  The most common source of these worms is our pets!

4)    Most puppies and kittens are born with intestinal parasites, but even adult animals can pick up these nasty worms from the yard, the dog park, potting soil or from our hands and feet if we have been working in the yard or garden!

5)    Nationwide, more than 36% of dogs are harboring at least one of these parasites.  In some regions, for example, the southeastern US, the percentage actually tops 50%!  That’s more than half of our canine friends spreading potential disease to our families.

6)    A single female roundworm or hookworm can shed more than 100,000 eggs into the environment every day!  Think of how many eggs are being deposited from a litter of puppies where every pup has more than one worm!  The numbers are staggering!

7)    The short life cycle of these parasites and the potential to infect our families means that veterinarians must be vigilant.  The CDC, the Companion Animal Parasite Council and the American Animal Hospital Association all recommend regular fecal exams for our pets.

8)    For most owners, we will ask for a sample just once or twice per year.  But, if your pet is not on heartworm prevention, we may need to check the pet’s feces every other month!

9)    From your pet to your whole family, we are focused on keeping everyone healthy!  Ask us about the best way to keep these nasty worms away from your four-legged friends!

10)    Sites like MyVNN.com can provide you with accurate and unbiased pet health information.