Fecal Exam

by Pawlicy Advisor
Dictionary
>
Veterinary Terms
>
Fecal Exam

What is a fecal exam?

A fecal exam is a microscopic examination of your pet's feces. Also referred to as a fecal flotation, this exam gives your veterinarian the opportunity to identify intestinal parasites (such as giardia, tapeworms, and hookworms) that are otherwise hard to detect.

Intestinal parasites not only make pets uncomfortable but can also result in more serious health issues in dogs and cats if left untreated. In some cases, pet parasites can be transmissible to humans, underscoring the importance for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Vets may also request a fecal exam if they suspect gastrointestinal problems to be the source of a pet’s ailment, as it allows them to see strains of bacteria known to cause diarrhea in dogs or [cats] and prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

Fecal exams are also used to test for the presence of blood or irregularities in pets' stool that may be a clinical sign of disease, such as cancer or organ failure. Veterinarians recommend annual fecal exams as a means to screen for and detect such illnesses, many of which display few or no symptoms and would be difficult to diagnose otherwise until the condition worsens. Unfortunately, by the time severe symptoms develop in pets, a disease might be past intervention if too much damage has occured. Early detection through fecal flotation can help improve your pet's prognosis and increase the effectiveness of their treatment.

How do fecal exams work?

If your vet orders a fecal exam, pet owners will need to collect a fresh stool sample in a sterile container and bring it to the vet office before or after their appointment. The veterinarian will then test the content of the feces and inspect it beneath a microscope, or send it out to a laboratory for analysis. Then, he or she will review the patient’s lab report and go over the test results with the owner.

In most cases, the results of multiple diagnostic tests, including a fecal exam, are necessary for your veterinarian to obtain a final diagnosis and prescribe appropriate therapy. However, the medical expenses for these tests can be quite expensive.

Fortunately, most pet insurance providers provide coverage for diagnostic tests. Pet wellness plans may also cover an annual fecal exam as part of routine care. Typically, these add-on plans also cover annual exams, core vaccinations, spay/neuter costs, microchipping, and so on.

Average fecal exam cost

The cost of a pet fecal exam falls between $25 and $45 on average. Though an annual fecal exam is generally affordable, this cost can add up for puppies, kittens, and pets with gastrointestinal issues who might need more frequent testing.

Pet insurance generally covers the cost of fecal exams for pets if it's deemed necessary by a veterinarian for diagnostic testing. Many pet wellness plans also cover policy will also cover the treatment for your pet, provided there’s proof the animal receives preventative medicine on a regular basis.

Related Terms

Gold-Standard Care
Gold-standard care refers to the highest quality veterinary care that all pets deserve to receive.
Read More.
Heartworm Test
A heartworm test is necessary for veterinarians to diagnose the presence and severity of a parasitic infection in pets.
Read More.
Homeopathy
Homeopathy is a type of medicine that focuses on caring for one’s overall well-being using specially prepared natural substances, such as herbs and minerals, to trigger a healing response.
Read More.

See related articles

vet visit with small dog

15 minute read

How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost? Here's Everything You Need To Know

dog having tick removed

8 minute read

Lyme Disease in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment & How to Cut The Costs

Cat with ringworm on neck

8 minute read

Ringworm in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Dog waiting to take prescription medication pills

5 minute read

Benadryl for Dogs: Uses, Dosage, and Side Effects

Puppy Dalmation at a veterinary checkup.

24 minute read

Is Pet Insurance Worth It? Here’s A Veterinarian’s Perspective

A family with pets that are insured by Pawlicy Advisor
Pawlicy Advisor is the leading independent marketplace for finding the best coverage for your pet at the lowest rate.
Join 2,438,795+ insured dogs and cats across the US.
Get a Quote
Our pet insurance partners
Pets Best Pet Insurance Logo
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Logo
Figo Pet Insurance Logo
Petplan Pet Insurance Logo
PetFirst Pet Insurance Logo
Hartville Pet Insurance Logo