Fecal Ova/Parasite Test & Giardia Elisa Test
All Pets checking in at Dr. Boyd's must be free of all intestinal parasites as documented by a "current" fecal examination (within the past 6 months) which includes ova and parasite testing, as well as a Giardia ELISA test, antigen testing for Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms; as well as direct microscopic exam for all other GI parasites.
There are many types of internal (or gastrointestinal) parasites; Roundworms, Whipworms, Hookworms, Tapeworms, Coccidia, and Giardia. Coccidia and Giardia, along with all of the various worms’ eggs, are extremely small organisms that cannot be seen without laboratory microscopic magnification. Unfortunately, there is not one perfect fecal examination test that can accurately confirm the presence, or absence, of each one of these parasites.
Years ago, the standard fecal examination test was the “fecal floatation.” This fecal floatation test is plagued with frequent false-negative results (i.e. many parasites were missed); consequently, this floatation technique was replaced by most veterinarians with the newer “fecal centrifugation” test as their standard testing protocol. Centrifugation is desirable over floatation techniques because it provides for a significant concentration of microscopic eggs and parasites. This concentration makes the eggs and parasites easier to visualize under the microscope. Easier microscopic identification means more accurate diagnosis and less frequent false-negative results.
Fecal Centrifugation has one clear shortcoming when it comes to the identification of gastrointestinal parasites…Giardia. It has been shown that Giardia infections are frequently missed utilizing a single fecal centrifugation test (i.e. more false negatives). Giardia is shed intermittently, so even if your pet has Giardia, fecal centrifugation may not be able to confirm its presence, despite the keenest eye and best laboratory equipment. This is potentially a big problem. Giardia is one of those “Zoonotic” intestinal infections that can be transmitted not only from pet to pet, but also potentially back and forth between humans and their pets (dogs and cats). In order to control this zoonotic disease, we are utilizing a relatively new, more sensitive test called the Giardia ELISA test. This test is an enzyme-linked assay that looks for a specific antigen (or protein) of the Giardia organism. Giardia ELISA testing is very specific and rarely misses a Giardia carrying animal (i.e. rarely a false negative).
If your veterinarian does not routinely run a Giardia ELISA test, please request this testing to be done prior to your pet’s stay with us. However, if it is more convenient for you, we can submit this testing for you once your pet arrives at our facility.
It may be possible that some veterinary practices do not provide, or are opposed to running this Giardia ELISA test. Please know that if that situation ever occurs, you and your pet will not be turned away. Rather, we would confirm the situation with a phone call to your veterinarian, then offer you two options: either perform a single Giardia ELISA test; or, you can elect to have your pet isolated from the remainder of the pets staying at Dr. Boyd’s at no additional charge. After that particular stay, in order for your pet to enjoy all that Dr. Boyd’s has to offer, a “negative” Fecal Centrifugation test along with a “negative” Giardia ELISA test would be required every 6 months.
We hope this clarifies our position on internal parasite control measures here at Dr. Boyd’s. Please direct any questions you may have to one of our doctors on staff, thank you.