Why are veterinarians so interested in poop? Have you ever wondered that? As it turns out, there are some very good reasons! Dr. Kerri McMahon, associate veterinarian at CFVC, shares some insight on why poop is an important part of your pet’s check up.
Fecal testing is recommended yearly, or if your pet has an intestinal problem, to check for the presence of parasites. It is extremely common that we find parasites like intestinal worms – hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms – when we test. Other organisms we find very commonly are Coccidia and the protozoa Giardia. These parasites are microscopic, they cannot be seen with the naked eye, unless you get “lucky” enough to see an adult worm passed in vomitus or stool. Yes, these worms and organisms cause diarrhea and disease so we always check for them when a patient is presented with loose stool. However, did you know that intestinal worms and organisms can be present in healthy dogs and cats with normal stool? Your pet may show absolutely no signs at all of carrying a parasite, yet there it is in your house or yard.
What’s worse is that some of these parasites can be passed to you and your family under certain conditions. Hookworms can burrow into human feet and migrate under the skin if given the chance. Roundworms and tapeworms can migrate through intestinal walls or live in the intestines of people that happen to swallow any of the microscopic eggs. And Giardia species are the most common intestinal parasite in humans in North America causing unforgettable diarrhea. The bottom line (no pun intended) is … go ahead and have the fecal run on your pet every year.
Dr. Kerri McMahon is a graduate of Texas A&M University, and a practicing veterinarian at Country Friends Veterinary Clinic. She has experience treating dogs, cats, exotics, horses and livestock.