At Aurora Pet Hospital, we recommend a fresh fecal examination be performed as part of a dog or cats annual examination. Clients will tell me: "My pet never goes anywhere but in my backyard. Why the need for a fecal exam?".
Numerous studies over the years have clearly shown that most parks and public areas where dogs are walked and wildlife abound, have a high incidence of intestinal parasites. These parasites and their eggs are not only found on ground, but also in water of ponds, lakes, creeks, and streams where many dogs like to swim and play. And of course there are the ever increasing in popularity dog parks, like Knox Farm State Park has here in East Aurora. Dogs who defecate in these areas will shed eggs of internal parasites if their owners do not practice good control methods. And of course grooming, boarding, day care, dog shows, and other activities make the chance of a dog's exposure to internal parasites even greater.
Internal parasites present an ever-present danger to dogs and cats. They can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and other serious medical conditions. And yes, some can even be transmitted to humans, causing terrible disease. Baylisascaris infection is caused by a roundworm found in raccoons. This roundworm can infect people as well as a variety of other animals, including dogs. Human infections are rare, but can be severe if the parasites invade the eye (ocular larva migrans), organs (visceral larva migrans) or the brain (neural larva migrans). The common roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can also infect people and cause serious disease, especially in children. It is estimated that over 1 billion humans worldwide are infected with these parasites.
We at Aurora Pet Hospital, will be happy to make recommendations on how often your pets feces should be checked for parasites, based upon its' lifestyle and risk of exposure. Please try to bring us a fresh sample, as dried out feces may kill some parasites and make their diagnosis impossible. We also want you to know we use only the centrifugation method of fecal examination, the most accurate available anywhere.
Lastly, a word on prevention. Cats that go outdoors regularly should be administered a "dewormer" on a regular (monthly or bimonthly) basis. We recommend a broad spectrum pill called Drontal feline, a topical called Profender, or the broad spectrum Revolution for all cats that venture outdoors. All dogs should get an annual HEAL (heartworm, ehrlichia, anaplasma, and lyme) blood test. If negative, they should then be placed on a broad spectrum heartworm/internal parasite preventive medication like Sentinel or Interceptor. These control/prevent not only heartworms, but also roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, parasites all common in Western New York State. Even still, the annual fecal exam is necessary to detect other internal parasites common to this region including Coccidia and Giardia.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding anything discussed above, please do not hesitate to phone us at: 655-0305. We are here to help educate you, and to keep your pet(s) and family members as healthy as we possibly can.