Fecal Exam for Cats

Fecal examinations can reveal potential digestive issues from diarrhea to worms in the stool.

A fecal examination is the microscopic evaluation of feces. The test is indicated for pets with diarrhea, straining, weight loss, lack of appetite, or vomiting. Annual fecal examinations are recommended for all animals as part of a yearly health exam. Fecal examinations are also recommended for all kittens.

There is no contraindication to performing this test. Negative results help determine health or may exclude the presence of disease and gastrointestinal parasites.

What does a fecal parasite screen reveal?

Fecal examinations are performed to detect microscopic gastrointestinal parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, Giardia, coccidia, and tapeworms. Some abnormal parasites known as spirochetes or flagellates can also be detected.

A positive test result indicates gastrointestinal parasitic disease. Negative results from one fecal sample may be misleading. Some parasites do not shed eggs consistently, so some samples may be negative even though the animal actually has a parasitic infection. Repeated fecal examinations may be necessary to detect some elusive parasites.

How is a fecal parasite screen done?

Several methods can be used with the preferred method depending on the organism suspected. Fecal floatation involves mixing and often centrifuging the sample with a special fluid. The sample is allowed to sit with a coverslip on top resulting in the organisms rising and concentrating at the top of the tube. The coverslip is then placed on a slide and examined under a microscope. Samples can be examined by a wet mount method which may allow better detection of motile organisms. Special stains can also be used to highlight various organisms. Each parasite has a characteristic appearance that can be detected by an experienced technician or veterinarian.

This fecal examination generally takes about 30 to 40 minutes and is performed in our hospital.

In some cases, our veterinarians may choose to submit the sample to an outside laboratory. Other tests such including PCR, fluorescent antibody, and antigen tests may be needed to detect some organisms including viruses that can’t be seen with a light microscope. If this is the case, test results may take 1 to 7 days to obtain.

Cat stool sample instructions?

The easiest way to do this is to pick up a sample of feces after your cat has eliminated. Please ensure you place the sample in a clean container. If there is going to be a delay in getting the sample to us, please place the sample in the fridge to keep it as fresh as possible. Fresh samples provide the most information.

Another method of obtaining a fecal sample is for one of our veterinarians to use an exam glove and place a finger in the rectum. Fecal material adheres to the glove and can be evaluated under a microscope.

Cat stool test cost?

Please call the clinic at 204-269-8162 and one of our team members will be happy to go over the different pricing options. Pricing is based on the extent of the test that is required.

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