FECAL TEST FOR DOGS: Requirements And Guide


In veterinary clinics, a fecal test for dogs (stool sample) is a common method of examining the feces content that can reveal a lot about a dog’s health. Vets recommend testing dogs at least once a year, mostly to detect the presence of intestinal parasites. In the United States, intestinal parasites are the leading cause of infection in pets. The dog ownership rate is 48%, and approximately 34% of these pets will be infected with an intestinal parasite.

Toxocara, an infection carried from dogs to humans, causes blindness in 14% of Americans each year. Children are the most vulnerable. To safeguard both the dogs and the people around them, a fecal test is required. Giardia, hookworms, and roundworms are zoonotic infections that can be transmitted from dogs to humans and are detectable through fecal tests.

What is a Fecal Test for Dogs?

A fecal examination is a common cat and dog lab test that allows your veterinarian to evaluate your pet for intestinal parasites, which are a leading cause of disease and even death in pets. A fecal test for dogs is not only required to keep your canines healthy but it is also required to keep your family’s human members healthy. Some canine and cat parasites can infect humans, especially if you live with very small children, very old adults, or persons with compromised immune systems.

Fecal Test For Dogs

The microscopic study of the dog’s feces is known as a fecal test (ova and parasite exam). For this type of testing in dogs, there are no contraindications. For puppies, veterinarians frequently recommend annual tests, whereas, for adult dogs, at least twice a year is recommended.
The standard microscopic dog fecal test can detect intestinal parasites and worms in dogs, including:

  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Giardia
  • Coccidia

Animals exhibiting recognizable clinical signs of parasite infestation, such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting, must be tested. The absence of symptoms does not imply that the dog is parasite-free. Furthermore, negative test results do not prove that they are not present in the dog’s body. It merely proves that no eggs or cysts are present in the feces.

A canine fecal examination at a veterinarian’s clinic often takes between 30 and 40 minutes. The results of the tests conducted in the reference lab will be available in 1 to 2 days.

How is the Fecal Test for Dogs Performed?

 only a few varieties of intestinal parasites are visible without a microscope. The majority of adult parasites and their eggs in the canine’s gastrointestinal tract may only be detected and identified via a microscopic fecal test.

A routine laboratory test for dogs is a fecal test. Smear, flotation, centrifugation, and antigen testing are the four types of tests. To check for a specific type of parasite, the vet must properly sample the feces. The veterinarian will perform one of the following tests after taking a little piece of your dog’s poop.

#1. Smear – The Simple Test

This is a simple method for detecting parasites in a dog’s stool. The vet will examine for parasite eggs under the microscope after smearing the little sample on the microscope slide. When the dog’s life is in danger due to acute diarrhea, this test provides answers fast, which is important.

#2. Flotation (Float) – The Most Common Test

It is the most used method of fecal testing in most veterinary facilities. A stool sample that is free of grass and dirt and is no older than 24 hours is needed for the test. The vet will mix it with a substrate and examine the liquid surface for protozoan cysts and parasite eggs.

Sodium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, and sugar work well as flotation solutions for this test. The identification of eggs and spores is therefore done only through the use of a microscope. Despite being widely used, the float fecal test is still a simple screening test with a high failure rate when compared to centrifugation.

#3. Centrifugation – The Most Accurate Test

Centrifugation is the most accurate method for determining not only the presence but also the type of parasite eggs. Also, centrifugation allows the veterinarian to observe 3 to 5 times as many eggs as any other method.
This method entails spinning a sample of the dog’s feces dissolved in a sugar or zinc sulfate solution. Under the microscope, the vet studies the precipitate and diagnoses parasites based on the shape, size, and features of the cysts, eggs, and larvae detected.

#4. Antigen Testing – The Best for Worms

Even if eggs are not found in the feces, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm can be detected in the dog’s body. The most accurate test for detecting worms in dogs is commercial antigen fecal testing ELISA, which was developed by IDEXX.

The purpose of the antigen test is to detect the presence of each type of intestinal parasite during the prepatent period. This is when parasites can infect the next host and lay eggs. That stage lasts about two to three weeks for hookworms, but it is much longer for roundworms (14 to 30 days) and whipworms (from 74 to 90 days).

After a fast checkup and based on any symptoms, a veterinarian will determine the sort of fecal test your dog requires. These tests are only the first step in what could be a lengthy testing process. If the veterinarian gets negative results or suspects an infection, you may be instructed to get a fecal wet mount using stool preservers, concentration techniques, or a fecal Baermann.

How Frequently Should My Dogs Get A Fecal Test?

None of the three fecal exam methods is perfect—there could be human mistakes, equipment faults, or even parasites! (Parasites may not always shed their eggs, and low-grade infections may not disclose much either.) As a result, basic wellness care should include fecal checks.

This varies based on your dog’s or cat’s lifestyle, but the more frequently your pets may be exposed to parasites, the more often a stool sample should be checked.

Fecal exams should be performed “at least four times during the first year of life and at least two times per year, depending on patient health and lifestyle factors,” according to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC).

How Do I Collect A Stool Sample For My Pet’s Fecal Test?

It may sound terrible to transport and bring poop to your veterinarian, but you must do it right to obtain the most precise findings from your pet’s fecal exam. The fresher the stool sample, the better, therefore bring your pet’s sample to the vet on the same day you collect it whenever possible. As soon as your pet poops, gather a sample and place it in a plastic sandwich bag or defecate pickup bag.

For ease of transport, some people double bag the sample or place it inside a disposable container with a lid. Most fecal tests only require 1-2 grams of feces, so you don’t need to collect a lot. If you are unable to take your pet’s feces sample to the vet on the same day it is collected, you can store it in your refrigerator – just be careful not to contaminate your food or refrigerator.

What If My Vet Finds Parasites In My Pet’s Stool Sample?

While finding parasites in a fecal exam is not ideal, the good news is that most parasitic infections are treatable with medicine if detected early. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe medication for your pet that is precisely targeted for the parasites identified, as well as medication or dewormers for any other pets in your home. Your veterinarian will also notify you of any follow-up visits or extra fecal exams that may be required.

How Can I Keep Parasites Away From My Pet?

As with most health issues, prevention is always preferable to cure, and fortunately, prevention is pretty simple with parasites. Almost all common parasites are controllable with monthly parasite preventives used orally or topically. In addition, follow these guidelines to avoid contamination in your home:

  • Always pick up dog excrement and/or clean up litter boxes as soon as possible.
  • Never handle animal waste with your bare hands, and quickly wash your hands after secondary contact.
  • Dispose of animal excrement by local regulations.

You’ll know what your vet wants, why they want it, and how to acquire it the next time they ask for a stool sample from your dog or cat.

Home Fecal Test for Dogs

A stool test can be performed at home for a little lower cost. These tests, however, will be less accurate than those performed at the veterinarian’s office, and they are more prone to produce false negatives. If you prefer this option, some of the finest over-the-counter home fecal tests for dogs are:

  • Fecal Worm by Perfect Pet Products
  • CheckUp by Kit4Cat
  • Stool Test by ClueJay

How the Fecal Test at Home Works for Dogs:

If you are using an over-the-counter fecal test, you must collect 1 teaspoon of your dog’s fresh poop, place it in a provided mailer container, and send it to the company by USPS. Their veterinarian will test the fecal sample at a laboratory and call you with the results within 24 hours. They will then send you an email with written results.

Cost of Canine Fecal Testing

Unfortunately, the best option is the centrifugal fecal test, which is also the most expensive and time-consuming but provides a trustworthy result to your veterinarian. The vet may also propose antigen testing ($80) in addition to the centrifugation test for an even more reliable result.

However, most veterinary practices avoid using this testing approach for routine check-ups due to expense, even though its greater sensitivity and accuracy can offset the costs in the long run.


A fecal test for dogs is one of the most important screening tests your veterinarian may use to determine whether parasite eggs are present in your pet’s stool. these tests should be done as part of routine care once a year for puppies and twice a year for mature dogs. If you suspect your dog has intestinal parasites, they will also be conducted on an as-needed basis.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like