Fecal Exam for Your German Shepherd Dog

Fecal Exam for Your German Shepherd Dog

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

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Hi Everyone,

Today, I am posting a interesting article written by Christine Wilford who received her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University, Texas.  The point of the article is that doing fecal exam on your German Shepherd Dog is likely a waste of time and money.  Like all animals, your dog will get stomach worms, such as round, hook, tape, and whip worms are the most common.  We at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennel do not do fecal exams rather like livestock ranchers, we assume that our dogs will get worms; therefore we place them on a worming program.  Thus, worming our dogs twice a year for less than the cost of a fecal exam, which as you will read is not a reliable method to determine whether your German shepherd has or does not have worms.  You too can learn how to worm your German Shepherd Dog for less than the cost of a fecal exam.

I'm Worm Free Because Dad Worms Me Twice a Year

I’m Worm Free Because Dad Worms Me Twice a Year

 

Veterinary News

 

FECAL EXAM RELIABILITY

 

A common test for worms may not always give you the right results

 

A majority of owners may be surprised to learn how inaccurate the common fecal examination really is.  Many owners are familiar with the annual regimen of bringing fresh fecal samples to their dogs’ annual physical examinations.  Likewise, most owners take heart in hearing their dogs’ test are normal or, alternatively, owners are glad to receive medications for treating the worms lurking within the bowels of their companions.  But what do these results really tell us?  Understanding how the test is run and knowing a few facts about intestinal worms can help you understand the test’s relative inaccuracies.

 

In general, the fresher the sample, the more accurate the test results.  As a sample ages, the contents of the eggs may hatch, may dry out and burst, or may mix well enough with the solution to be separated and float.  How fresh is fresh?  The preservation of worm eggs in a stool sample varies tremendously depending on temperature, humidity, and the consistency of the sample.  AS time elapses, eggs will degrade and thus will go unrecognized when the slide is examined.  During busy times of the day, other priorities may cause fecal samples to be left unexamined far beyond the optimal reading time.  Even when a sample is fresh and handled appropriately, results may still be unreliable.

 

The chances of finding a worm egg depend on how many worms there are in the intestine, how many of the worms are female, the maturity of the worms and whether the females were laying eggs during the time that the feces was formed.  If there are only a few worms in the intestines, the relative number of eggs laid in a fecal sample is usually much lower than if there is a heavy worm concentration in the dog.  It is also possible to have a significant worm burden with relatively few female worms present; thus, a dog could have clinical signs of intestinal worms without showing evidence of that in a fecal examination.  Similarly, if many of the worms are too immature to lay eggs, there will be no way to identify their presence through a simple fecal exam.

 

Additionally, because worms do not lay eggs at a constant rate, there may be no eggs in a fecal sample simply because the feces were formed and collected during a period when the adult female worms were not shedding eggs.

 

Based on this information, one could argue that an annual screening of an otherwise healthy dog is an unnecessary, and possibly inaccurate, test.  So why bother checking a fecal sample if the results could be misleading?  If no eggs are found, then there may be no worms present or there may be worms and they’ve gone undiagnosed.  Owners cannot depend on a single negative result.  Veterinarians who specialize in the gastrointestinal diseases recommend examining three separate fecal samples before concluding that a negative result is reliable.

 

When your dog’s stool is abnormal, that is, if you see blood, mucus, or a change of color or consistency, or your dog has loose stools, a fecal examination is advisable.  Depending on the types of worms present, clinical signs may not occur or may be subtle.  Worms do not necessarily cause weight loss or decreased activity.

 

In many cases, veterinarians use deworming medication as a diagnostic tool when fecal exams do not reveal worm eggs.  In fact, it may be easier, cheaper, and faster to administer a deworming medication that eliminates the common types of intestinal worms.  If the stools return to normal, it is concluded that the clinical signs were caused by intestinal worms.  Sometimes, common sense and practicality should prevail over complicated and expensive diagnostic tests.


CHRISTINE WILFORD, D.V.M.

Don't Forget to Worm Your German Shepherd Puppies

Don’t Forget to Worm Your German Shepherd Puppies

 

Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on available litters: http://www.keystonegermanshepherds.com/PuppiesForSale.htm.   We have several wonderful puppies that that are ready to go home.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion.   Also, please see our web page: KeystoneGermanShepherds

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds

Fecal Exam for Your German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd Dog (Cleaning Up After Your Shepherd)

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

Today’s discussion is anything but glamorous.  However, it is an important discussion for the health of your German Shepherd Dog and possibly your family.  German Shepherd Dogs are unusually clean and try to get as far away from their feces as possible, and often will choose one specific area in the yard to defecate.  Our Heidelberg German shepherd Dogs will actually try to bury their feces after defecating.  They do this by scratching soil and grass over their poop after they defecate.  As the owner of a German Shepherd Dog, it is your responsibility to clean up after them.  If you live in a subdivision consider your neighbors olfactory sensitivity especially in the summer. Be a good neighbor and pick up your dog’s poop daily.

German shepherd Dog Covering Up After Pooping

German shepherd Dog Covering Up After Pooping

All dogs will get stomach worms and worms such as hook, tape, and round contaminate the environment with their eggs when your German Shepherd Dog defecates.  Worms such as hook and round worms can infest your yard with their eggs for months and in some cases for years if you allow the feces to break down and spread into your soil.   The infected backyard can become a low risk health hazard to small children that could become infected if they contact the infected soil and then stick their hands in their mouth.  For hookworms a person can become infected by simply contacting the infected soil with bare skin.  Fortunately, the hookworms cannot survive in the human body and soon die upon entering the skin, and thus become a slightly annoying rash for a few days. This rash is known as “plumbers itch”. In addition, if you allow your yard to become infested with worm eggs, your dog will continue to be re-infected costing you unnecessary money to treat your German Shepherd Dog for worms.

Grand Champion Heidelberg's Kodiak v Queridad Enjoying a Clean Yard

Grand Champion Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad Enjoying a Clean Yard

Feces left in your yard will also attract and breed biting flies and the common houseflies.  If flies drive you nuts in the summer then do yourself a favor and keep your yard clean and the number of flies around and in your house will decrease.

All the above can be avoided by simply picking up the poop every day.  Most German Shepherd Dogs will defecate two to four times a day.  It should take you no more than five minutes to keep your German Shepherd Dog healthy, happy and worm free, as well as keep your yard clean. 

German Shepherd Dog Pooping

German Shepherd Dog Pooping

Purchase a Pooper Scooper at your local pet store.  The average cost will be approximately twenty dollars, but is well worth it because it allows you to clean up fast and efficiently.

Ask me a Question and I will provide my opinion. Also, please see our web page: KeystoneGermanShepherds

Sincerely,

KeystoneGermanShepherds