If your dog has diarrhea, but you are trying to save money, you may be wondering "how much a dog stool sample test cost?" The answer is that a dog stool sample test in most cases does not cost very much. Of course, prices may vary greatly from one place and another and depending on what type of testing is being done. Not all fecal tests in dogs are the same and therefore they may have different prices. Following is a general guide on types of dog fecal tests and the associated dog fecal test costs.
Types of Fecal Tests
As mentioned, not all fecal tests are created equal and depending on the test, the prices may vary widely from $10 to $60 or more. Here is a brief guide on some fecal tests for dogs.
Fecal flotation test: this common test screens for intestinal parasites and is usually done once or twice a year in healthy pets for their check-ups. It is usually done in-house (in your vet's office) but the sample can also be sent out to a laboratory.
As the name implies, after a fecal sample is mixed in a solution made of salt or sugar, the eggs will float to the top so that they can observed under a micrscope. The price of a fecal flotation test may range between $15 and $40.
Fecal ELISA Parvo Snap test: this test screens for the parvo virus and is often used when young puppies present with the onset of vomiting and foul-smelling diarrhea. On top of a positive parvo snap test, vets will often also order a complete blood count. The presence of leukopenia (low white blood cells) and neutropeina (low neutrophils) helps confirm the diagnosis. The average price for a dog parvo snap tests is around $60.
Fecal cytology test: often needed when dogs develop diarrhea such as a dog eating a raw meat diet and developing blood in the stool, possibly signs suggestive of Salmonella, explainsDr. Scott Owens, a board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine. Other entities that can be found with this test include bacterial flora such as Campylobacter or Clostridium. The average price for a dog fecal cytology test can be anywhere between $40 and $60.
Fecal occult blood test: this test is done to check for signs of bleeding from anywhere in the dog's digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines, rectum). Only a small stool sample is needed and the vet can also collect it directly from the dog's rectum with the use of a glove. The stool sample is simply placed on special testing material, and if blood is present, there will be a visible color change to the testing material. The cost for a fecal occult blood test may vary between $10 and $30.
Fecal Giardia Elisa test kit: Fecal tests for detecting the protozoan giardia require at least three consecutive stool samples. The reason for multiple testing is that these protozoans tend to shed cysts into the feces intermittently, so at least three tests are needed to rule them out. This type of Giardia testing checks for presence of Giardia proteins and results are often available in minutes. Th cost for a giardia fecal test is usually around $40.
Accuracy of Dog Fecal Tests
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When you submit a stool sample to your vet, it's important to consider that fecal flotation tests are not always as accurate as one would hope. The reason for this is that parasites do not always shed eggs in every sample, explains veterinarian Dr. Deb.
So when your vet says that the stool sample tested negative, it just simply means that no signs of parasites were found in that sample. Having another stool sample checked may be recommended if you suspect worms or have seen them in your dog's stool at some time. Consult with your vet.
Freshness of a stool sample is important as you do not want the sample to be too old. Accuracy may lower the older the sample is considering that eggs may dry out and disintegrate with time. Ideally, the sample should be very fresh, no longer than two hours old, but vets have been known to accept samples as old as 12 to 24 hours.
While dog fecal tests can rule out some potential causes for dog diarrhea, it's important to note that there are many other potential causes of diarrhea in dogs, such as metabolic diseases, pancreatic insufficiency, small intestinal disease, colitis, hormonal problems and in some cases, even cancer. A fecal test therefore can be just a starting point.
Tip: want to make the stool sample less smelly? Then simply add a dryer sheet to the bag along with the container holding the sample, suggests veterinary technician Deana Chambers.
More Pricing Information
Of course, the price of a dog's fecal test is just the tip of the iceberg. On top of the fecal test you will have to factor in the cost of the office visit which is generally between $45 and $80.
If your dog was though seen by your vet very recently, there are chances that the vet will allow you to drop off a sample to check for parasites and your vet may then prescribe the proper de-wormer should the fecal sample test positive for intestinal worms. You will therefore have to consider these additional costs.
Sometimes on top of the fecal test, your vet may order other diagnostic tests such as blood work to better come to a diagnosis. In the case of suspected parvo, as we have seen, the vet may request a complete blood count. If the puppy or young dog tests positive for parvo, treatment may be costly. Costs for treating a disease like parvo in dogs tends to get higher in general the more severe it is. Hospitalization, IV fluids, medications can easily amount to anywhere between $500 to $1500.
As seen, the costs of a fecal test can vary widely, but it's no where close to being close prohibitive. Costs though can easily sum up when adding the office visit fee, other diagnostic tests and treatments.