Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Abnormal Droppings: Interpretation

Once the appearance of the normal droppings are known, recognizing abnormal ones will be much easier.

Feces: Abnormal changes in appearance

DIARRHEA (soft or liquid feces): Diarrhea is uncommon. An increase in urine, which produces wet droppings, is frequently mistaken for diarrhea. Increased urine can cause the feces to become wet and slightly loose. Diarrhea is not a disease. It is only an indication that a problem is involving the digestive tract.

Causes of Diarrhea

  • Diet (sudden change in diet, addition of new food, spoiled food), intestinal infection, ingestion of foreign object or poison.
  • Diseases of other organs
  • Egg ready to be laid or egg binding
  • Abdominal hernia
  • Overtreatment with antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Parasites
  • Cancer

BLOODY (red, reddish-black, or tar-like):Bleeding in digestive tract, severe intestinal infections, bleeding disorders, some poisons, cloaca papillomas, tumors, ingestion of foreign objects, parasites, egg laying.

UNDIGESTED FOOD (whole seeds or pieces of pellets in feces): Poor digestion, parasites, intestinal infection (e.g., proventricular dilatation disease), pancreatic disease, oil ingestion.

INCREASED VOLUME (bulky feces): Egg laying, poor digestion.

DECREASED VOLUME (small, scant and dark feces): Appetite loss or shortage of food, intestinal obstruction. Urine: changes in volume.

INCREASED URINE OUTPUT (wet droppings, polyuria): Normal with increased stress, diets high in fruits and vegetables; abnormal with infections, diseases (i.e., diabetes, kidney disease), poisons, drug reactions.

DECREASED URINE OUTPUT: Dehydration. Urates have a change in color. Remember, urates should always be white or whitish-beige in color. Color changes indicate a serious problem.


RED OR REDDISH/BROWN DISCOLORATION (bloody): Poisoning, liver disease.

Color changes can also indicate an overindulgence in a favorite food, such as beets, pomegranates, or blueberries. Don't be fooled by the red dye in some newspaper ads wehn they are used as cage tray lining. When a wet dropping comes in contact with this red dye, the color can "bleed through, and it has been mistaken for blood in the droppings.

Reference: "Manual of Avian Medicine" by Glenn H. Olsen and Susan E. Orosz