Photo by Ame Vanorio

Let’s Talk Poop – Fecal Fridays

So poop. If you have animals you probably have spent a lot of time shoveling stalls, chasing your dog around with a pooper scooper, or letting the cat in and out and in and out. Not always the most enjoyable task.

It may seem like a dirty chore but livestock and pet manure is pretty important stuff. It is a good indicator of your pet’s health. Getting a fecal done is a good way to monitor your pet’s health.

Diarrhea or constipation may indicate the animal ate something they should not have. They could have a virus or they could have internal parasites in their stomach and intestines.


Bring in a fecal sample on Fridays for a discounted price. Regularly $16 NOW $12.00/sample.

Photo by Ame Vanorio
Getting ready to do a fecal.

Why Do Fecal Exams?

Fecal exams are an important health measurement that veterinarians perform. They check for intestinal parasites. Internal parasites can be a serious health problem for your animal. Climate change is leading to warmer weather and an increase in many parasite species.

Fleas and ticks are visible on the outside of your pet but internal parasites can be hard to see.

Kansas State reported that on average 34% of dogs are infected with internal parasites at any given time. If you live in the southeast that number increases to 54% of canines.

Some parasites such as roundworms are zoonotic, meaning humans get them too. In fact, they also reported that three to six million persons also contract roundworm (Toxocara larva migrans) each year. Hookworms and giardia can also be passed from animals to humans.

Don’t Miss Our Animal Health Days Coming Up March 21, 2020! 20% off routine care.  

Your veterinarian will often recommend a fecal test at your pet’s annual exam. Or they may offer suggestions on times of year to worm a pet.

By Joel Mills - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Roundworm from a puppy

Common Worms

Knowing what worms your pet or horse is suffering from will help you with treatment.

Common worms that we see in pets in Northern Kentucky are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and coccidia.

Parasites in horses can cause colic and other digestive problems. Horses in our area are prone to strongyles (redworms), roundworms, and pinworms.

Sheep, as well as other ruminants, are prone to a particularly nasty roundworm called barber pole worm. This parasite sucks blood from the main stomach which can lead to anemia and death.  

By Kevin Kandlbinder - Own work, CC BY 4.0,
Sheep need to be monitored to protect from barber pole worms.


There are several different tests for worms. The most common form of fecal is called a floatation fecal. This is what we use at Licking Valley Vets.

The fecal sample is mixed with a solution that helps to separate the eggs and parasites from the fiber material. The mixture is then placed on a slide and observed under a microscope. Eggs and parasites can then be identified.

The slide actually displays a grid pattern. The number of eggs in each grid are counted. A math formula is used to calculate the estimated number of parasites and a recommendation is given for worming.

For animals with a heavy worm load, we usually recommend they get retested in two weeks.

How Often Should You Do A Fecal Exam?

Most veterinarians do a fecal as part of your pet’s annual exam. Young animals are more prone to parasites and should be checked several times a year. An older healthy pet may just need a fecal done at their annual visit.

If at any time the animal appears to be sick or appear “off”, experiences chronic diarrhea or is losing weight getting a fecal done is a good idea.

For livestock, Dr. Glaza recommends yearly pooled samples from the herd or as needed due to sick or lethargic animals.

You may notice your dog or cat scooting their bottom along the ground or intensively licking their rectum. Horses may rub their bottoms on a fence post. Pale gums and scruffy coats are also signs of parasites.

Listen To Dr. Nathan’s Podcast on Equine Parasites.

How To Collect Your Poop Sample

Collection methods may be a bit different depending on the species of your furry friend. In all cases try to get a clean sample that does not have cat litter, dirt, or straw mixed in.

Scoop the poop using a clean cat litter scoop or by putting a plastic bag over your hand.

Place your sample in a plastic zip-lock bag or container with a lid.  

Make sure you label the plastic bag with your name and the pet’s name or ear tag number.

Take the sample to your veterinarian’s office within twenty-four hours.

Fleas, Ticks, and Worms – OH MY!!

We carry wormers and flea/tick prevention at the clinic and through our online pharmacy. Dr. Glaza recommends that you treat for fleas and ticks at the same time that you worm.

Fleas and ticks often transmit parasites to your pets. By treating both you will help prevent re-infestation.

Author, Ame Vanorio, is the director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center and a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. She teaches onsite and online classes in organic gardening, solar power, and wildlife rehabilitation. She lives on her farm in Falmouth, Kentucky with too many animals to count! 

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