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Fecal Testing – Why do we do it?

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Intestinal parasites can be an indication of compromised health in the individual animal.  Changes in an animal’s metabolism due to an impaired immune system, liver disease, kidney disease, infection or anemia can predispose them to a greater susceptibility to acquiring intestinal parasites.  Or intestinal parasites may be the primary cause of illness.  In which case, they can cause diarrhea, weight loss, blood loss and anemia, infection, or major organ dysfunction.  By establishing an intestinal parasite monitoring program (that includes quantitative testing) and schedule , we can help to minimize the cost of intestinal parasites to the animals’ health and overall economic loss due to medication costs, reduction in production (fleece/fiber, milk production, weight gain), and labor costs.  Typically here in the Pacific Northwest, we recommend fecal testing be performed on each animal grouping once every 3 months (a general recommendation).  This recommendation is adjusted to each farm’s unique situation and may result in more or less frequent sampling.  Individual animals should be sampled on an as-needed basis as health concerns dictate.

In the event that routine surveillance testing indicates the need for treatment, we will inform you of the parasites found, the recommended product(s) to use to treat for them, and how long treatment should take.  We will also indicate when a recheck, or post-treatment, fecal should be performed.  This follow-up test is very important to verify that treatment was successful and that any other parasites that could have been previously inhibited by the treatment target parasite, have not undergone a population explosion.  Treating without follow-up gives a false sense of security which can be quite costly on many levels.  To facilitate post-treatment follow-up we offer a discounted price on those samples received within the recommended recheck period.

 

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Dr. Jacquelyn (Jackie) Waltner has been a practicing camelid veterinarian in the Pacific Northwest since 1997. She first became involved in the camelid community as a student at Oregon State University in 1992 when she began working with their llama and alpaca research herd. Jackie graduated from Oregon State University with her Bachelor of Science in Zoology in 1993, followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University in 1997. “Dr. Jackie”, as she is affectionately referred to by her long time clients, brings an extensive camelid background, in part from working as a resident veterinarian for the largest alpaca producer in North America and also as a respected solo-practitioner. In 1999 Dr. Jackie began working in a mixed practice where she became dedicated to bettering the lives of companion animals. She continues to enjoy working with a variety of small animals.

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