A “fecal float” is a test performed on a fresh stool sample to check for intestinal parasites. Intestinal parasites are common in dogs and cats. Parasitic infections are typically acquired when a dog or cat eats another animals’ stool, cleans his/her paws after walking on contaminated soil (for example, the backyard or a dog park), or from eating other animals bodies (for example, rodents).
The CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council) keeps track of parasite prevalence throughout the United States. Data shows that;
- Roundworm: 1 out of 74 dogs tests positive in Middlesex County (2015)
- Hookworm: 1 out of 52 dogs tests positive in Middlesex County (2015)
- Whipworm: 1 out of 214 dogs tests positive in Middlesex County (2015)
Testing annually for intestinal parasites not only keeps your dog/cat healthy, but also limits the risk that they will transmit the infection to human members of the family. Young children are at particularly high risk of contracting intestinal parasites from family pets. Children who play outdoors in the same area in which pets defecate may inadvertently ingest microscopic parasitic eggs should they get contaminated soil on their hands and then touch their mouths. Most monthly heartworm prevention medications also protect against certain intestinal parasites.