Faecal testing is a great way to screen your pet for internal parasites such as worms and coccidia, which, left untreated, can be life-threatening to many species. It can also be beneficial if your pet has diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal signs (including weight loss), as faecal tests can help determine what may be causing your pet to be unwell.
What Is Involved in a Faecal Test?
Four types of faecal tests are commonly performed on exotic pets: a faecal gram stain, a faecal wet preparation, a faecal suspension, and a faecal float. At the Unusual Pet Vets, we will often perform these tests in combination to get a complete picture of what could be going on.
Faecal Gram Stain
This method allows us to broadly identify the general types of bacteria that are present in your pet’s faeces.
The test involves smearing a small faecal sample onto a microscope slide, drying it and then putting the slide through a series of stains. Once that process has been completed it can then be examined under the microscope.
Faecal Wet Preparation
This method allows us to identify parasites and some types of bacteria and fungi.
The test involves a small amount of a fresh faecal sample being placed on a microscope slide, often with some saline added and a cover slip on top. This is then examined under the microscope.
Faecal Suspension (Macrorhabdus Suspension Technique)
This method was developed by one of our specialist avian vets, Dr Hamish Baron, and has been shown as one of the most sensitive ways to diagnose macrorhabdus in our bird patients.
This involves a small faecal sample being thoroughly mixed with saline in a small test tube. The supernatant (top part of the mixture) is then pipetted off and analysed under the microscope.
A faecal float is performed to identify the eggs of mature parasites that live inside the body.
The process of a faecal float involves a stool sample being placed inside a small container that is mixed with a specialised solution and allowed to settle. Once ready the sample is analysed under the microscope.
How Often Should Faecal Tests Be Done?
For birds and reptiles, a faecal test is recommended as part of their preventative health care plan, and for this reason, we have included this service in our FlyStart, ScaleStart and SlitherStart packages.
Faecal tests are also important to consider when introducing a new pet into your home, and they are often performed if a pet is unwell.
Although many of the species we see do not require regular worming unless they are exposed to new parasites, faecal tests are a good way to see if your pet needs to be wormed rather than just treating your pet for parasites that it may not have.
In most cases, we perform faecal testing on the spot, and you will have the results within 10-15 minutes of the sample being taken.
Early detection and intervention are essential for your exotic pet’s health. Faecal testing can provide a lot of information about the status of your pet’s gastrointestinal health.
I had my guinea pig Dasher booked in for castration and microchipping as part of the Hop Start Package and the staff there were very friendly, insightful, professional and helped to calm my nerves about the surgery. All went really really well and Dasher is loving his new food. I highly recommend them.
Neek Dianne Blackburn
Absolutely exceptional, every team member I encountered conducted themselves with absolute professionalism, compassion and care, and should be commended for their awesome work especially with the changed conditions they have had to accommodate for during COVID19.
Couldn’t recommend highly enough.
Thank you for going above and beyond to make the loss of our little man Winnie (ferret) as peaceful and painless as possible.
Angus and Bec
I cannot thank Dr Kelly and her staff enough for taking such great care of my 2-year-old Blackmoor goldfish ‘Pepper-Potts’.
Removing her eye has given her back her quality of life, she is a very happy girl again. Incredible knowledge, experience & great love and care was given, thank you so very much.
💙Pepper-Potts & I love you all
I can’t speak highly enough about the team of vets and vet nurses who saved my baby weiro when he was very close to passing away. The service and care have been exceptional from the very start! Outstanding communication, phone call follow-ups, prompt replies to emails, extremely professional, so caring and empathetic. They really are just AMAZING at The Unusual Pet Vets.
A very special thank you to Dr Luke, who has been so committed to saving my little bird from day one and holding onto hope for him. My family and I are so thankful for you and your team for all you have done for him and for his ongoing care and treatment. You guys are awesome!
We are so happy to have now found our bird Buddy a fantastic vet service. The service we received from Dr Kelly and her team from start to finish was so welcoming and friendly.
I have been taking my python to Dr Josh since I got her 5 years ago. He is always very compassionate and goes through everything in great detail. In the beginning, I asked a LOT of questions and he always made time to answer as soon as he could. The new clinic is fantastic, and I know my animals are 100% safe and comfortable whilst there.
Always a pleasure visiting unusual pet vets. They take good care of our birds and answer any of our questions with in-depth responses. I have seen Dr Sam a few times and it’s obvious he loves his job and the animals he treats, and I’m sure all the doctors are the same. 10/10 thanks so much!
Fantastic care as always for our bunny with gut stasis. They called to bring our appointment forward to make sure that he received any necessary care as quickly as possible and gave us great information about the problem and the follow-up care and treatment. So reassuring to know that you are in expert hands.
A wonderful clinic that accepted an adorable, yet dazed Eastern Yellow Robin after it flew into my window. It was such a relief this service was available on a Sunday afternoon before a public holiday. Such commitment to preserving the wellness of our beautiful native wildlife must be commended, we’re so fortunate to have these dedicated saints.
Absolutely the best vet, they are so caring and dedication to their job. I cannot recommend them enough. Thank you.