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Using Pet Diagnostics To Test For Parasites

pet diagnostics

As a pet owner, we know you want your dogs and cats to be safe, comfortable, and happy at all times. The best way to accomplish this is to keep track of their health. A comprehensive wellness exam can detect or prevent any potential issues and get them treated early. One common occurrence in dogs and cats is parasites: a type of organism that lives in or on a “host” – that is, your pet – and feeds from its flesh. Sounds gross, right? That’s exactly what it is, not to mention highly uncomfortable for your beloved friend. Fortunately, your veterinarian can use what’s called pet diagnostics to test for parasites and get Fluffy or Fido feeling better in no time.

Fecal Samples Tell All

The most effective way of diagnosing parasites in dogs and cats is through fecal samples. This is why we ask that you bring a fresh stool sample with you when you come to your vet appointment. The process of acquiring that sample may be unpleasant, but it will help your vet be able to diagnose worms that may be infecting your pet on the inside. Testing stool samples will uncover any parasitic eggs that may be present. Other unwanted organisms that can be detected this way are worms, or organisms known as protozoa.

Pet diagnostics involve mixing the stool sample with a special liquid that causes any lurking parasite eggs to float. Those eggs are then collected with a glass slide that is then looked at under a microscope. The eggs’ appearance will tell the vet what type of parasite it is, and the number of eggs present may indicate just how bad a potential infection might be.

How Often Fecal Tests Should Be Performed

Younger cats and dogs are more susceptible to getting re-infected, so keep watch for any discomfort in your kitten or puppy if they’ve already had parasites. Your vet should perform multiple fecal tests in their first year, which means bringing a fresh stool sample to each wellness visit. Signs your pet has parasites include diarrhea or little to no weight gain as they grow.

Thankfully, older animals are less likely to get parasites. Yearly fecal tests are required at check-ups, though you may want to repeat the test if your pet has diarrhea or sudden weight loss – especially if they’ve had parasites in the past.

Additional Pet Diagnostic Tests

Fecal tests are one way of detecting parasites. If these tests show a negative result but your vet still suspects parasites, additional tests may be recommended. These tests include fecal wet mounts, which involve concentrated methods with stool preservatives.

Common Parasites In South Florida

Researchers from the University of Florida found a parasite called rat lung worm in at least five Florida counties. This particular parasite can cause meningitis in both humans and animals. So far, rats and snails in Hillsborough, Orange, St. Johns, Leon, and Alachua counties have tested positive for this parasite. Since cats and dogs can both ingest rats and snails, this parasite could potentially affect them as well. The rate of fatality in humans is low but poses a more severe risk to your pets. If your dog or cat starts showing weakness in the limbs or paralysis, take them to your vet right away.

Pet Diagnostics In Pompano Beach

You obviously love your pets, and therefore wouldn’t trust their care to just anyone. The knowledgeable and compassionate staff at All Aboard Animal Hospital are just as eager as you are to make sure your animal friend gets the pet care they need. Whether you suspect parasites, or just need a checkup, we’re here to help. Call us today at 954-785-7780 to schedule a veterinary appointment.


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