A dog fecal test is how veterinarians look for parasites in stool and determine what medications to prescribe.
Bringing a stool sample to the vet’s office may feel gross and weird, but it’s how to check for worms and other parasites in your dog’s poop. The dog fecal test can contain useful information about why he isn’t feeling his best! So, grab that plastic bag! Here’s how to do a good stool sample collection:
Dog Fecal Sample Collection
You can collect a stool sample from your dog using any poop bag just like when cleaning up after your dog. You don’t need much poop. Enough to fill a shot glass is plenty. And throw in any worms or tapeworm segments that you see.
If you don’t have any poop bags handy, put them on your shopping list and grab any intact plastic bag (grocery bags frequently have small holes, so use them with caution). Invert the bag, place it over your hand like a glove, grab some poop, and then fold the bag right-side-out so that the poop is contained. Then seal or tie the bag closed and head to the vet right away because fresh poop is best.
Fresh, uncontaminated samples are the best for identifying worms and parasites in stool. And be sure that the poop is from the right dog. The best option is to go out with your dog the morning of your appointment and collect the stool as soon as your dog defecates. If the appointment is in the afternoon, you can store it in a refrigerator temporarily.
When to Get a Fecal Test for Dogs
A dog fecal test is usually in order if your dog has any of these signs:
- Bloody stool
- Difficulty pooping
- Unexplained weight loss
- Visible worms in stool
- “Grains of rice” in stool or around rectum (Hint: They aren’t rice)
Some signs are obvious indications of what is wrong, such as a visible parasite in poop shows that your dog has worms.
Others, like diarrhea and weight loss, are a little more general and can be caused by a variety of infections and illnesses. But a fecal test for your dog is a quick and inexpensive way to rule out parasites as a cause of your dog’s troubles.
Types of Fecal Tests for Dogs
Almost all veterinary facilities can do a simple dog fecal test in the office. Veterinary staff will take a small amount of the stool sample and mix it with a specific solution. This poopy mixture then sits, allowing time for the parasites and parasite eggs to float to the top while the food debris stays at the bottom.
A vet tech or veterinarian will then look at the sample under a microscope. These fecal flotations usually reveal eggs from worms but can also show protozoa such as giardia. Your veterinarian will identify the parasite in stool and prescribe your dog a medication to target that parasite.
Your vet can also send the stool sample out to a lab for more thorough testing. This helps find more subtle infections and can evaluate blood in your dog’s stool.