Fecal Screening in dogs and cats
Fecal screening determines whether your dog or cat has picked up any intestinal parasites and should be done as a part of preventative care, as well as when your pet develops any gastrointestinal issues. Intestinal parasites are transmitted through the feces of other animals, so it is important for dogs and cats with access to the outdoors to be routinely tested.
Part of our annual wellness exam includes routine screening for a handful of diseases we see commonly in this area. Some of the diseases we test for - such as heartworm and tickborne disease in dogs - can lead to severe health issues down the road, which is why we recommend vaccinating and giving preventative medications along with routinely checking for these diseases.
This is a combination test that checks for Heartworm Disease, as well as three tickborne diseases: Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis & Anaplasmosis. Maryland is one of 12 Northeastern states with the highest incidence of Lyme Disease, and because the ticks that transmit these diseases are so prevalent in this area, we strongly recommend testing all dogs on an annual basis.
Heartworm test FAQ
My dog receives the Lyme Vaccine and/or preventatives. Should they be tested? The Lyme Vaccine along with tick preventatives (such as Nexgard or Frontline) significantly reduce your dog’s risk of developing Lyme Disease. However, the vaccine does not prevent against other tickborne diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis, nor does it prevent heartworm disease. Additionally, while these preventative measures significantly decrease your pet’s risk, they are not perfect. The Lyme Vaccine has been shown to be up to 86% effective in preventing Lyme Disease, and is recommended in conjunction with preventatives and routine testing for your dog’s best protection against these diseases.
My dog has had Lyme Disease or another tickborne disease in the past, and has already been treated. Do they need to be tested? Even if your dog has been treated in the past for tickborne disease, they can become infected again with the same disease, or contract a different tickborne disease. Sometimes dogs who have been treated before show up positive in subsequent testing, so routine testing and a conversation with your vet is always important in determining the likelihood of a new infection.
Why does my dog keep testing positive for tickborne disease, if we have treated in the past? Dogs who have been treated for tickborne disease often have a residual immune response (antibodies), which is why they may test positive even after treatment is over. Your doctor may recommend additional testing to determine whether your dog’s positive result is suspected to be due to a new active infection, or a residual immune response.
What are some of the symptoms of tickborne disease? Tickborne disease can cause fever, lethargy, rotating and intermittent lameness and joint pain, and can progress to severe health concerns such as kidney or liver failure - and even become fatal. Identifying tickborne disease early is key to protecting the liver and kidneys, which is why routine testing is an important part of your dog’s health.