We like to periodically check cats for intestinal parasites, whether they go out or not. It is particularly important to make sure a new cat joining your present cats is parasite (worm) free. Also, generally kittens have a high likelyhood of parasites. Yes, even the expensive ones from fine catteries.

The standard fecal flotation test we use for worms, floats the parasite eggs to the surface where they can be identified microscopically. Feces can be up to 12 hours old and we only need about 1” of stool. This test will discover roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, pinworms and some protozoa parasites like coccidia. This test is not really effective in identifying giardia and smaller ciliated protoazoan organism. For this we need a more specific direct fecal exam. Also, tapeworm eggs show up rarely on the standard fecal flotation test, but show up very well on your cat, as little “moving grains of white rice” crawling around the anus or feces. When these Tapeworm segments die they look like dried, small brown rice grains adhering to the cat’s fur. Check your cat’s stool or anal area for these segments. Cat’s can be infected by eating mice or being bitten by fleas as well as from cat or dog contact.

Pregnant women are often concerned about exposure to toxoplasma, but fecal tests of your cat are unreliable. Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should have no contact with cat litter or undercooked meat. There are blood tests that can screen your cat for Toxoplasma. They are certainly not foolproof, but are much superior to fecal tests.

Please submit a fecal sample when the Doctor call for it. He probably has a good reason for requesting it. If the Doctor asks for a fecal digestive analysis sample. This is very different from a regular fecal sample. For this you should submit at least 3” of feces – no older than 8 hours. Make sure you inform the receptionist or technician that this is a digestive test because these samples are sent to an outside lab. They are not run here and are billed differently. A fecal sample for parasites costs $25. A digestive analysis sample is billed at $85.