A “fecal” may seem like one of the more humble tasks performed in a veterinary hospital. That does not diminish the importance of this examination, which can provide valuable information on the health status of veterinary patients. Parasite diagnosis and monitoring are vital to pet health and the health of pet owners, given the zoonotic potential of many parasites. Skill in the conduct and interpretation of fecal examinations is important if internal parasites are to be accurately diagnosed and effectively treated. The performance of reliable and accurate fecal examinations requires knowledge of the procedures, a thorough familiarity with the important parasites of dogs and cats, and an understanding of how to use this information in a reliable parasite control strategy.
It's easy to become complacent about parasite management—especially management of internal parasites. We now have highly effective products that prevent gastrointestinal parasites. Nevertheless, research indicates common canine and feline gastrointestinal parasites remain prevalent, due to everything from poor owner compliance to the limitations of “seasonal” prevention.