Tests for Parasites

What Tests Your Vet Can Perform if Your Pet Cat or Dog is Under Attack From Parasites?

Has your pet ever acted lackluster, appear listless, be less aware of his/her surroundings, doesn’t even notice your kids when they pat her/him on the head or maybe has some diarrhea? Well, this could mean that your pet may be suffering from parasites.

You should take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible. It’s not difficult to identify cats and dogs that are carrying parasites in their bodies. Typically, such cats and dogs have scrawny bodies but bloated tummies, have no energy, are mostly dull and inattentive and affected by frequent diarrhea. While cats and dogs living in unsanitary, unclean conditions are more vulnerable to a parasitic attack, it is still possible that your pet may have been affected. There is no way for you to control your pets exposure all the time.

So, on suspecting the presence of parasites, your veterinarian will subject your pet cat or dog to various tests. This help allow him to get a better idea of what exactly is the reason behind your pet’s illness. Here are four of the most common tests for parasites in cats and dogs: Fecal Examination, Heartworm Test, Skin Scraping and Ear Mite Swab. Do read on!

Fecal Examination:

The most common test to check the presence of parasites living within the bodies of cats and dogs is to subject them to a Fecal Examination. This involves, as the name suggests, taking a sample of your cat or dog’s fecal matter and carrying out certain specialized procedures on it, that quicken the growth of parasites and worms in the sample into eggs and larvae, making them more easily identifiable. The most common culprit is a single-celled parasite called Giardia, that settles in the intestinal tract of your pet, causing incredible harm. While these parasites are not visible to the naked eye, in a minority of cases, cats and dogs are so much affected by parasites that one can easily see worms in their fecal matter, without even the aid of a microscope. These are, of course, the most serious cases.

Heartworm Test:

Heartworms are dangerous parasites that are transferred into your pet cat or dog’s body after a bite from a mosquito carrying the heartworm larvae. Soon, the heartworm larvae settle down in the arteries and blood vassals of the lungs, and within 3-4 months, your poor pet will soon be carrying a raging heartworm population. Visible symptoms of this are laziness, frequent vomiting, anorexia, lack of appetite, constant coughing and an asthma like condition. That is why your vet will subject your cat or dog immediately to a Heartworm Test on noticing any of these symptoms.

The physical diagnosis may involve x-ray tests, angiocardiography, echocardiography. And then a Complete Blood Count or CBC blood test. Lastly, your pet will be examined using Antigen tests and Antibody tests to detect heartworm infection and to find out how the pet’s immune system reacts to a heartworm infection.

Skin Scraping:

Your pet cat or dog may be affected by constant itchiness and skin problems. There are several causes for this, so veterinarians do the Skin Scraping test to single out the specific cause, and then find a solution to it. Skin Scraping is also used to diagnose fungal infections, inflammation of the skin and even skin cancer. A properly done Skin Scraping will reveal the presence of bacteria, fungi and parasites in the superficial layer of the skin. To perform this test, your veterinarian will use a scalpel blade to scrape the skin of your pet as gently as he can without causing any blood to flow, so that enough skin cells can be had for a more detailed examination under a microscope.

Ear Mite Swab:

Is your pet cat or dog suffering from a severe pain in its ears that is causing your pet to cry out in anguish? Is there a discharge from its ears or frequent itchiness? Then, your pet’s ears have been infected. One of the most common causes of ear infection in your pet cat or dog is the presence of parasites, bacteria and fungus. To detect this, and to help reach a better conclusion about the treatment and medication to be given, your veterinarian will conduct an Ear Mite Swab examination of your pet. It involves the placement of an applicator with a cotton tip inside the ear canal. Then gently, your vet will try to get hold of some of the debris or the discharge in your pet’s ears on the cotton tipped applicator. This is then placed on a glass slide, and examined closely using a microscope, and the cause of the ear infection is correctly identified.