Message Number: YG630 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Mike Janke
Date: 2001-03-03 18:26:00 UTC
Subject: Poop chart

Dr. Williams originally posted this on the FML and I placed it on my
website as a "poop chart" for all us poop gazers. It's worth
repeating here.


Green poop - a very non-specific sign - it just means that food is
moving through too fast. The normal brown color seen in feces is the
end product of breakdown of old red blood cells. The pigment goes
through a green stage called biliverdin, before it becomes brown
(called stercobilin). So if it is going through at an accelerated
rate, it never breaks all the way down, and has a green color to it.
Anything that accelerates passage of food or causes diarrhea can
result in green color - ECE, rapid food changes, lymphoma, just about

Black tarry poop - Very suggestive of gastric bleeding and usually
associated with gastric ulcers. You have to have significant bleeding
in the stomach for the feces to turn black. The black color is the
result of digestion of blood, which usually only occurs in the

Bloody poop - If you see frank blood in the poop - it is usually
either from the large bowel or rectum ( if seen in small amounts) -
of if there is a lot of blood, it could come from the entire length
of the GI tract. Massive hemorrhage is seen either from severe
gastric bleeds or shock in ferrets, and as one might imagine, is a
really bad sign.

Birdseed poop - Generally a sign of maldigestion or malabsorption.
Also non-specific, it can be seen with any disease that severely
affects the small intestine. Most commonly seen with ECE, the
individual seeds are usually undigested fat and starch complexes.
When you see this, you should consider removing a ferret from kibble
and going to a bland, easily digested supplement for a while.

Pencil-lead thin stools - Think partial obstruction - usually a
foreign body.