Did somebody say POOP? Yep you heard right the subject everybody has to deal with everyday concerning pets but would rather not. Just like humans you can tell a lot about your health by your poop. PETS can’t verbally tell you how they’re feeling so it’s up to you know how to keep on top of things. Poop is a great indicator how your pets are doing overall in their health.
A good rule for Humans & PETS is to maintain a steady, nutritious healthy diet, proper hydration, exercise and joy this will keep everybody thriving for years to come.
Rules of POOP for a DOG
Poop gives us a tremendous number of clues as to a dog’s digestive and overall health, which is one of the reasons the vets always ask you, “Did you bring a sample?” Walk into the back area of any clinic and you will see a neatly arrayed line of stool samples waiting to be evaluated; it’s as much a part of a dog’s standard exam as having your blood pressure taken at your own doctor.
As owners, you probably have more familiarity with your dog’s poop than you’d like to think about, after all, you’re cleaning it up every day. Is there such a thing as a stool emergency? Are some variations in a pet’s stool normal?
Color: Under normal circumstances, the stool is a chocolate-brown color- hence the many Tootsie roll analogies. During normal digestion, the gallbladder releases bile to aid in the breakdown of food. Bilirubin is a pigment in bile that affects stool color. The stool may have some minor deviations in color due to diet, hydration, or dyes in his or her food, but you shouldn’t see a substantial amount of changes. Some of the abnormal color patterns are:
– Black stool: bleeding high up in the digestive tract may result in tar-colored stool
– Red streaks: this indicates bleeding in the lower digestive tract
– Grey or yellow stools: may indicate issues with the pancreas, liver, or gallbladder
If abnormal colors persist for more than two stools, call your veterinarian.
Consistency: You may be surprised to know that some veterinarians use a numerical system to score the consistency of a pet’s stool. The fecal scoring system assigns a value to the stool from 1 to 7, where 1 represents very hard pellets and 7 is a puddle. The ideal stool is a 2: a firm segmented piece, caterpillar shaped, that feels like Play-Doh when pressed. Formless stool means the large intestine is not properly re-absorbing water; hard stool can be painful to pass and may indicate dehydration. The ideal dog stool is the consistency of Play-Doh, easily squishable, and hold its form without melting into the grass. I tell owners that one super-soft or super-hard stool isn’t a cause for concern, especially if the pet is normal otherwise, but if it persists for more than a day, give us a ring.
Content: There’s only one way to get to the inside of a poop, and that means dissecting it. We pay our staff to do this so you don’t have to, but some people just really need to know for themselves, and I salute those determined pet owners. The inside of a stool shouldn’t look any different from the rest of it, but here’s some abnormal things you may find:
– Worms: long and skinny roundworms, or little rice-shaped tapeworm segments. Remember, stool that has been outside for hours may have little creatures in it that weren’t there at the outset, so it’s important to know if this is a fresh sample.
– Foreign materials: grass, sock bits, plastic, rocks. Pica, the eating of non-food items, is not uncommon in dogs, and sometimes you don’t know that your dog is digging into the trash until you find a bit of Ziploc in the stool.
– Fur: big clumps of fur in the stool indicate overgrooming, which can happen secondary to stress, allergies, skin disease, or even boredom.
Coating: Poop should not have a coating or a film over it. If you’re picking up your pet’s stool off the grass, there shouldn’t be any sort of trail left behind. A coating of mucous often accompanies large bowel inflammation, and often occurs concurrently with diarrhea. Small streaks of bright red blood may also show up on occasion, usually secondary to straining to defecate. I often take a “wait and see” approach with a single red streak, but any more than that and I’d like to see the pet in the office.
Fortunately, for all the uncomfortable and unpleasant sequelae of poop issues, the vast majority resolve on their own in 24 hours. f a pet is eating, drinking, and behaving normally otherwise, giving it a day to sort itself out should be fine. If he or she stops eating, seems depressed, or continues to have digestive symptoms after a day, it’s time to call the vet.
Rules of POOP for a CAT
Just like for humans, your cat’s feces can be a predictor of important things going on inside his body. For example, a cat with abnormal feces may be suffering from a digestive disorder or liver or kidney disease. In a relatively normal cat, [problems with bowel movements] can also be a sign of a sensitivity to the diet offered, as well as parasites.
Many times, when cats start to show signs of kidney disease, they become dehydrated, which causes them to have hard stools. This can lead to constipation, but also should tip you off to get some blood work run to see if there is early kidney disease. Of course, constipation can have other causes as well, including anything else that leads to dehydration, intestinal blockages, dirty litter boxes, inactivity, neurologic disorders, painful defecation, and the use of some types of medications.
Diarrhea can also indicate intestinal upset and inflammation, Jones adds, so it’s important to get it checked out. “It can be caused by anything from worms to things stuck in the intestines,” and many other potential problems.
An abrupt change in your cat’s diet will almost always cause a change in thier stools. Diet changes can temporarily affect the smell, color, and quality of your cat’s poop. If your cat is otherwise healthy, however, these symptoms should resolve within three to five days. While your cat’s feces will never smell like roses, a notable worsening in smell should be evaluated, as it can be a symptom of intestinal disease.
Cats are all different as far as regularity, but most will have once daily bowel movements. As cats age, they may have less frequent bowel movements,you may even see times when they skip a day. If your cat goes more than two days without stool production, you need to call your vet. When cats are constipated they will strain or take an inordinately long time in the box, or frequent the box with no stool produced.
On the other hand, too much stool can also indicate something is wrong. If your cat consistently has more than two bowel movements a day, you should consult with your vet.
Under normal circumstances, a cat’s stool is dark brown. Black is consistent with digested blood in the stool, especially if it’s shiny and looks like road tar. Tan or light brown can be an indication of liver or pancreatic issues, but diets high in fiber will also produce a lighter-colored stool.
If you notice blood in your pet’s stool, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. This can be a sign of a potentially serious problem and provide a route for bacteria to enter your cat’s bloodstream. Pet parents should also call their vet if they notice mucus in the stool. Your cat’s poop should not have any coating, it could be an indication of colitis.
To know what loose or hard stool looks like, you’ll first need to know what regular, healthy stool looks like. The ideal stool should be firm (but not rock hard) and shaped like a log, a nugget, or a combination of the two.
Keep in mind that the ancestors of domestic cats were desert dwelling creatures. As such, their colons are very effective at removing moisture from the stool, which means it’s normal for their stool to be firm. Remember most cats are not strong water drinkers.
Anything that is not formed (i.e., soupy or soft stool) is considered diarrhea, Waldrop says. “Whether it’s liquid or pasty, it’s abnormal and should be evaluated. It’s important to keep an eye on the consistency of your cat’s stools, especially since cats are prone to inflammatory bowel disease, which is a relatively common cause of diarrhea.
Hair is the most common item noticed in stool, and if it’s not excessive, then this is totally normal. If you find large amounts of hair in your cat’s poop, it can be an indication that the cat is over-grooming, which can be associated with anxiety, itchy skin, or diseases causing excessive shedding.
Tapeworms may also be seen in your cat’s poop. They are shiny, white, and about the size of rice. They may also be moving. Most other intestinal parasites are not visible in the feces.
Other things to watch out for include pieces of cat toys or other household items, such as thread or dental floss. Some cats are chewers, and if you see these kinds of things in your cat’s stool, you will really need to keep those items out of your cat’s reach, as they can potentially lead to an obstruction.
If you notice any of these objects in your cat’s stool, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
As a rule of thumb, never try a home remedy for your cat’s poop issues—or for any malady—without first checking in with your veterinarian. Cats are very particular with their sensitivity and tolerance to over-the-counter medicines and you could end up with a worse challenge than you started with.
Also it’s always important to make sure your cat has access to fresh water and is drinking enough of it. Elderly cats are commonly dehydrated because they tend to drink less, and are prone to diseases that increase their water intake needs. Always observe your cat and if they are lethargic and the stools change, that is cause for concern.
Here’s to your PETS Health & long life!As a special thanks goes out to Dr. Waldrop & Dr. Schwartz for your expertise in these areas.
REMEMBER PETS RULE! & Keep an eye on that poop