Frequently Asked Questions

Stool Tests

Why Stool Test?

Most simply, regular stool testing helps keep pets (and even the human family) healthy.

Intestinal parasites are common in all animals, including well-cared for pets. Sometimes they go unnoticed and don’t cause the pet harm. Other times they lead to mild, moderate, or even severe illness. Some parasites carried by pets can infect other pets in the household or even infect and harm humans.

For those reasons, veterinarians recommend stool (fecal) testing at least once if not twice per year for all pets, even if they are healthy with normal appearing stools. Vets also recommend stool testing right away when the stool appears abnormal (e.g., soft, loose, or bloody) or when abnormal signs appear that could be caused by an intestinal parasite infection.

There are a variety of common parasites that are routinely screened for in normal stools of healthy pets including worms (roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms), coccidia, and Giardia. Stool testing can be taken to a higher level to include microbes (common disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa of dog or cat intestines) for pets with frequent or ongoing abnormal stools or signs.

Dog Stool Test Level 1: Worms
Dog Stool Test Level 2: Worms + Giardia
Dog Stool Test Level 3: Worms + Giardia + Microbes

Cat Stool Test Level 1: Worms
Cat Stool Test Level 2: Worms + Giardia
Cat Stool Test Level 3: Worms + Giardia + Microbes

Please contact a local or virtual veterinarian right away if your pet is acting sick.

When To Stool Test?

NORMAL STOOL: ClueJay Stool Test Level 1 or 2

Veterinarians recommend stool (fecal) testing of normal appearing stool as part of wellness healthcare:
• puppies and kittens 2 to 4 times during their first year of life
• adult dogs and cats every 6 to 12 months thereafter

Use ClueJay Dog or Cat Stool Test Level 1 or 2 for most normal appearing stool testing needs. Either of these tests will be accepted by veterinarians, kennels, boarding facilities, and day care facilities to meet an “annual stool check” requirement for dogs and cats. These same tests can be used to recheck stool samples after treatment of a parasite discovered by this testing (typically 2-4 weeks post-treatment).

ABNORMAL STOOL: ClueJay Stool Test Level 2 or 3

Vets recommend stool (fecal) testing right away for abnormal stools:
• soft or liquid stools (diarrhea)
• blood in stool
• dark stool (black or tar-like)
• mucus in the stool
• unusual objects in stool

ABNORMAL SIGNS: ClueJay Stool Test Level 2 or 3

Vets recommend stool (fecal) testing when certain abnormal signs appear that could be caused by parasite infections:
• excessive gas
• passing stool more often than usual
• stool accidents in the house
• straining or taking a long time to pass stool
• coughing
• vomiting
• low energy
• pot-bellied appearance
• change in appetite
• weight loss
• dull coat
• itching and signs of skin irritations
• rubbing bottom on the ground or “scooting”

Use ClueJay Dog or Cat Stool Test Level 2 or 3 for testing abnormal appearing stools and for certain abnormal signs. Consider ClueJay Stool Test Level 3 especially for dogs or cats with frequent or ongoing abnormal stools or signs. Either of these tests will be accepted by veterinarians, kennels, boarding facilities, and day care facilities to meet an “annual stool check” requirement for dogs and cats. These same tests can be used to recheck stool samples after treatment of a parasite discovered by this testing (typically 2-4 weeks post-treatment).

Please contact a local or virtual veterinarian right away if your dog or cat is acting sick.

Which Stool Test?

If you are not sure, Maranda suggests selecting ClueJay Dog or Cat Stool Test Level 2 to cover most stool testing needs.

  • ClueJay Stool Test Level 1: Worms
    Use for Normal Stools
  • ClueJay Stool Test Level 2: Worms + Giardia
    Use for Normal or Abnormal Stools
  • ClueJay Stool Test Level 3: Worms + Giardia + Microbes
    Use for Abnormal Stools

 

“Add Giardia testing?”

Many veterinarians include Giardia by ELISA testing with every stool test done through their practice, whether the stool is normal or abnormal in appearance. This speaks to the commonness of Giardia infections in most areas of the U.S. It also reflects their belief in the importance of knowing if their patients (healthy or not) are infected. This same test is also used to recheck stool samples after Giardia treatment. Typically, this “recheck” stool test is done within 2-4 weeks after treating a dog or puppy for Giardia to help confirm that the treatment was effective. Note that not all vets treat pets with Giardia even if infected. More details in the  Learning Center.

 

“Add Microbe testing?”

Veterinarians use Microbes by PCR testing to identify common disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and protozoa of dog or cat intestines. These tests are designed to screen for the DNA (RNA) of the microbes in the stool sample and is usually done for dogs or cats with frequent or ongoing intestinal problems like vomiting, soft stools, diarrhea, or weight loss.

Microbe by PCR testing is also done to screen dogs or cats that carry and shed these microbes in their stool without being ill from them. This testing is useful for pets eating raw-food diets since some of these microbes (e.g., Salmonella, Campylobacter) can be harmful to people. Human family members that have compromised immune systems may be at higher risk from exposure to these microbes. Note that not all vets treat pets with certain microbes even if infected. More details in the Learning Center.

Level 3 Dog Microbes Tested:
Bacteria: Salmonella; Campylobacter
Viruses: Canine circovirus; Canine distemper virus; Canine enteric coronavirus; Canine parvovirus
Protozoa: Cryptosporidium; Giardia

Level 3 Cat Microbes Tested:
Bacteria: Salmonella; Campylobacter
Viruses: Feline enteric coronavirus; Feline parvovirus (panleukopenia)
Protozoa: Cryptosporidium; Giardia; Toxoplasma; Tritrichomonas

 

Please contact a local or virtual veterinarian right away if your pet is acting sick.