Annual fecal exams are the best way to protect your pet from intestinal parasites because it gives your Los Angeles veterinarian the opportunity to find them before they get worse.
What is a fecal exam?
Fecal exams are a microscopic examination of your cat or dog's feces. They are conducted at your primary care vet's office and look for any infections that could be impacting the health of your pet, and possibly the health of everyone else in your household.
What do fecals look for?
Your vet will look for any signs of parasites such as hookworms and roundworms when performing a fecal exam. These parasites can make pets irritable and uncomfortable and could lead to many more serious issues. A number of parasites can even be transmitted to people.
Intestinal parasites live in your pet's gastrointestinal tract, hiding them from view. That's why fecals are the best way to detect their presence.
How do I get ready for my pet's fecal exam?
Collect a fresh sample of your pet's stool the same day as your appointment (ideally 4-6 hours beforehand) and bring it with you to your vet's office for the most accurate results.
It's very important to not let the stool sample dry out or dehydrate because many of the potential parasites will be killed, which could mask their presence.
How often will my pet require a fecal exam?
You should bring a sample of your pet's stool in for an exam at least once a year to have your cat or dog tested for internal parasites. Puppies and animals with gastrointestinal issues may need fecal exams more frequently. Ask your vet how often you should bring your pet's stool sample in for a fecal.
What if heartworms are found in my pet's fecal results?
You need to know that the treatments for heartworm disease can cause serious complications and could potentially be toxic to your pet's body. These treatments are also expensive because they require multiple visits to the veterinarian, bloodwork, hospitalization, x-rays, and a series of injections. This is why we say prevention is the absolute best treatment for heartworm disease.
However, if your cat or dog is diagnosed with heartworm disease, your veterinarian will provide you with the treatment options they have available. FDA-approved melarsomine dihydrochloride is a drug that contains arsenic. It kills adult heartworms. Melarsomine dihydrochloride will be administered via injection into your pet's back muscles in order to treat the disease.
Topical FDA-approved solutions are also available. These can help to get rid of parasites in the bloodstream when applied directly to the animal's skin.
How can I prevent heartworms?
Heartworms aren't common in Los Angeles but, It's imperative that you keep your pet on their preventive medication to help keep them safe from heartworm disease. Even if they are already on preventive heartworm medication, we suggest testing your pets annually for heartworms.
Heartworm prevention is safer, easier, and much more affordable than treating the progressed disease. A number of heartworm preventive medications can also help protect against other parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms.