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It is no surprise that pets can harbor intestinal parasites. Sometimes the parasite causes clinical illness, while other times the infection may go unnoticed without intestinal parasite screening. The topic of intestinal parasites is extensive, but here are a few key points to consider:

  • Parasite eggs are common soil contaminates. Eggs can be incredibly resistant to environmental degradation and remain infective for years
  • Indoor-only pets can still be exposed to intestinal parasites. Other pets that go outside, or even dirty shoes, can track soil indoors. Cockroaches, mice, and flies can carry roundworm eggs. Roundworm eggs have also been found in commercial potting soil (The Veterinary Record, February 18, 2006).
  • Intestinal parasites can cause illness in pets (vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, weight loss, anemia, to name a few).
  • Some intestinal parasites are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted to humans.

Common Intestinal Parasites
Dogs: Cats:
*Roundworms *Roundworms
*Hookworms *Hookworms
*Tapeworms *Tapeworms
*Giardia *Giardia
*Coccidia *Coccidia
Whipworms *Toxoplasma
(*) Indicates zoonotic potential 

Given the risks associated with intestinal parasites, Lawndale Veterinary Hospital makes the following recommendations:

  • Have your pet screened for intestinal parasites annually, at the minimum (see below for additional testing information).
  • All dogs and cats should receive year-round broad-spectrum parasite control. This is easily accomplished by administering a once monthly heartworm prevention that also deworms for some of the most common intestinal parasites. (Lawndale recommends Sentinel for dogs and Revolution for cats.
  • If your pet experiences intestinal symptoms (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia) intestinal parasite testing should be considered.
  • Always clean up pet waste promptly (and wash your hands).
  • Protect sandboxes, garden areas and playgrounds from fecal contamination.‚Äč

What's the scoop on our fecal testing?

  • Whenever your pet is due for a fecal test, it's best to bring a fresh fecal sample to the appointment. This will ensure we have an adequate sample size for testing. Additionally, your pet will have a more comfortable experience since we won't have to obtain the fecal sample during the appointment.
  • Most of our fecal testing is now sent to an outside laboratory. The outside laboratory uses a special method to analyze the fecal sample called fecal centrifugation. Some intestinal parasites can be difficult to find on routine fecal testing. Fecal centrifugation provides a more sensitive level of fecal analysis. 
  • Although we have modified our annual fecal testing procedure, we have kept the cost the same to you!

‚ÄčAuthor: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS