This question comes up every day at veterinary hospitals; how important is the laboratory analysis of a dog or cat’s stool? Years ago, fecal exams were done only on animals with digestive problems, either diarrhea or vomiting. But times have changed and so has our knowledge of disease-causing parasites.
First, there are newer ones that, years ago, never existed in our local environment. Just a few years ago, we rarely saw hookworm or whipworm infections. But as people have moved with their pets from other parts of the country into South County, these “bugs” have emerged as a potential problem. In addition to intestinal worms, protozoa (named giardia) are nearly endemic in many parts of California, causing digestive upset in animals and people. And those pet store over-the-counter medications? Unfortunately, they’re not effective in eliminating many of these parasites.
Veterinarians and medical doctors are keenly aware that some animal parasites can also infect children, causing serious illnesses including blindness and paralysis. It’s a nasty world out there and we can’t just look the other way. So we’re always on the lookout.
I’m sure your vet made the right decision insisting on that fecal exam. Considering your pooch’s weight loss, it makes sense to check into the potential for a parasitic problem. Fecal exams should be done whenever there are signs of indigestion, weight loss or unthriftyness. It’s good medicine for your pooch AND for your family.