Examining Your Pets Stool
Posted January 26, 2017
Whether you are a cat or dog owner, knowing what is considered
normal or healthy stool for your pet is important. Abnormalities of
your pet’s stool could be a sign of something more serious.
Jonathan Lidbury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said regularly
looking at your pet’s stool can help protect their health.
Additionally, he described what kind of stool is considered healthy
for your pet.
“Normal stool is formed and maintains its shape once it has been
passed,” Lidbury said. “It is usually light to dark brown in color.
Small variations in the color and texture can occur from day to
day. However, owners should contact a veterinarian if their pet’s
stool has fresh red blood in it, as this could be a sign of
inflammation of the colon.”
Lidbury also noted that other signs of a problem could include a
dark or black and tarry appearance to the stool, as this is
consistent with digested blood and bleeding from the stomach or
small intestine; persistently yellow or gray and greasy stool, as
this can indicate digestive problems such as exocrine pancreatic
insufficiency; or a persistently off white stool, which can
indicate blockage of the bile duct.
In addition to these irregularities, there are other abnormal
qualities in your pet’s stool that could be a sign of a health
problem, such as evidence of round worms or tapeworms.
“Diarrhea can be due to a wide variety of gastrointestinal and
other problems, while mucous in the stool or multiple pieces of
narrow stool, can indicate inflammation of the colon.”
Lidbury encourages pet owners whose pet is producing irregular
stool to visit a veterinarian. Your veterinarian has the tools to
diagnose the cause of the abnormal stool, as well as help treat
your pet’s health issue.
“Your vet will first collect a thorough history and perform a
complete physical examination to help better define your pet’s
problem. They may also examine a stool sample under a microscope to
look for parasites,” Lidbury said. “If no parasites are found and
your pet is otherwise healthy, a veterinarian may prescribe
a treatment aimed to help control your pet’s symptoms.”
Though some pet owners may avoid looking too closely at their
pet’s feces, keeping an eye on your pet’s stools can actually help
keep your pet healthy. Knowing what is considered healthy and
normal stool is important for all pet owners.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk.
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