Let’s Talk About Poop!

What happens with the poop your vet collects?


When we collect the faeces for tests, it forms part of the investigation process as to why an animal has diarrhoea.


The causes of diarrhoea can be grouped into:

  • Intra-gastrointestinal tract or
  • Extra-gastointestinal tract.


One of the easiest things to rule in as a cause of diarrhoea is parasites. These parasites can be found in the faeces.


Once the faeces has been collected, 4 tests are done with the sample.

  1. Faecal flotation
  2. Faecal smear
  3. Wet preparation
  4. Snap tests


Faecal float:

  • The sample is placed in a flotation device , faecal floation fluid is added and a coversilde is placed. If there are faecal eggs , these will float to the top and stick to the cover slide. After 10 minutes the cover side is removed and examined under a microscope to look for worm eggs. We can get a false negative because sometimes we don’t see the eggs because the worms are not producing eggs at the time of looking at the sample.


Faecal smear:

  • This is done by smearing the sample on a microscope silde and staining it with Diff-Quick stain. With this sample we are looking for the precense of cells and bacteria. Yes, there will be bacteria, but we want many different sizes and shapes of bacteria, not just 1 type of bacteria.
  • To find out what type of bacteria is in the sample it can be sent to an external laboratory that will culture (grow) the bacteria.


Wet preparation:

  • The sample is placed on a microscope slide, some fluid is mixed into the sample and it is examined under a microscope. For this sample we look for giardia or coccidia.


Snap tests:

  • This is where we place a swab in the rectum of the pet and take a sample. The swab is then placed in fluid. The fluid is placed in a little test. This test will test for Giardia, Parvovirus and Canine Coronavirus. This test takes about 10 minutes to run.
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