One might reasonably think that, after 30 years of practice, I had seen just about everything there is to see.
We have a program at our hospital we call “SBI,” which stands for Sample Brought In, and refers to stool samples clients bring in for their pets. Why would someone do that? Mainly because it saves the pet having to undergo a somewhat-uncomfortable probing of the colon with a device called a fecal loop, which we use to obtain a stool sample from those patients who arrive without one.
Maybe the pet didn’t cooperate at the right time, or possibly the client was just too squeamish to handle the stool.
We also give pet owners encouragement and a reward by reducing the fee for the fecal flotation test.
Well, bright and early this morning Remington came to see us for his 12-weeks-of-age examination and vaccinations. I noticed his dad had a plastic bag in his hand and I inquired whether he had brought a stool sample. His reply: “Yes, it’s on the board.”
Having no idea what he meant, and assuming I had misunderstood, I proceeded to the laboratory with the bag, noting its heft. “Hmmm,” I thought, “another pet lover who brought us the entire bowel movement instead of just a tablespoon.”
When I opened the container what I found was a 1″x6″ treated pine board.
With stool sitting on top of one end.
“So,” I muttered under my breath, “that’s what he meant by ‘Yes, it’s on the board.’”
I hadn’t misunderstood after all.
Of course, I just had to ask, “How did the stool get on the board?”
Dad’s reply? “I don’t know, my wife just told me she had collected it and it was ready to go.”
Other memorable stool sample delivery systems include a paper towel with no wrapping, just stool plopped on top (I’m sure that car smelled great!). And one stool sample that was inside aluminum foil, which was inside a zipperlock bag, which was inside a paper bag, which was inside another paper bag! To borrow Dave Barry’s famous line, “I’m not making this up!”
To qualify successfully for the SBI program one need bring only about a tablespoon of stool. We don’t need the entire BM, especially if you have a Great Dane.
Other acceptable containers are pictured here. The green and white one is called a Fecalyzer. The green part acts as a scoop for the pet owner to pick up a tablespoon of stool to put inside the white part. The lid closes securely to keep poop and smell in. Then, in the laboratory, the green part acts as a filter when fecal flotation solution is added. It’s a single-use system and when the test is finished we cap the Fecalyzer and throw it away.
We also have these little zipperlock bags to give to clients to bring samples in. They work well for urine, too.
Even if your pet’s doctor doesn’t offer a discounted fee for your efforts at SBI, it’s worthwhile for your pet for you to save him from the dreaded fecal loop!
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.