Message Number: YG745 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Dr. Bruce Williams
Date: 2001-03-05 17:29:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Poop chart

My turn to talk about black poop.

Yes, the black color of poop which is seen following gastric bleeding
is due to oxidation of the ferrous iron to ferric iron. You can also
see black feces when taking to many iron tablets as well. A similar
process is seen when bismuth is oxidized - it also causes black feces
(we see this in animals -or-people- taking bismuth subsalicylate -
also known as Pepto-Bismol)

I you are giving iron supplements to your ferrets and it turns the
feces black, you probably should back off. Iron overload may cause
iron depostion in a number of tissues, including the liver, resulting
in a disease called hemochromatosis. Feeding liver generally will
not cause iron overload - it is usually either iron tablets, or in
some human cultures, beer fermented in iron pots with high levels of
ferrous iron.

With kindest regards,

Bruce H. Williams, DVM
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> Is it the iron content when the blood is digested that causes the
> coloration? If so, do ferrets with high-iron diets ever get black,
> but not tarry feces? We certainly have at times during some healing
> phases given high liver content food without black stools. If not
> iron, then what causes the pigmentation?