However, a couple of issues suggest that these estimates are actually too low. First of all, whipworms are notoriously hard to diagnose via fecal exam. Their eggs don’t float very well in the most commonly used type of solution, and the worms release their eggs on an intermittent basis (in other words, the worms are present but their eggs are not). Secondly, while hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are the “Big Four,” these tables say nothing about the incidence of Giardia, coccidia, and other types of intestinal parasites that can affect dogs and cats.
The incidence of parasitism in pets is probably significantly higher than what the Banfield numbers show. In fact, a study published in 2009 looking at over a million canine fecal samples submitted to Antech Diagnostics revealed that 29.6% of those coming from dogs less than six months of age and were positive for intestinal parasites. Wow!
So next time you head to the veterinary clinic, make sure you bring along a sample of your pet’s poop. You might be surprised at what’s hiding inside.