Sunday, May 18, 2014

Smelly Poop? When Is It Abnormal?

I suppose there is a tiny hint of superstition in every one of us.

With that, I was asked the same question twice in as many days. So, I thought I would post the answer here to broadcast it to any others who might be waiting to make it a hat trick and ask tomorrow.

My kitty, Wren.

Tammy asked;

I have a cat that has issues with her poop being soft and not normal it is a very large amount and it smells bad I tried tape worm and ring worm change the diet from Iams to cat and paws did anyone have this problem.

My answer;

This is hard to answer without an examination of your cat. But there are a few things to mention.

A big cat is a cat who is eating too much and not burning enough calories. So the amount of food in will closely resemble the amount of food out. Talk to your vet about this.
A poor quality food is full of fillers, and or fiber, and this is not digestible, so the cat will produce more waste. Talk to your vet about this.

Cats can get medical conditions that affect their fecal output. Talk to the vet about this.

A fecal sample should be done before you ever give any kind of de-wormer. In almost every single case the de-wormer you are buying over the counter is inappropriate, unnecessary, and dangerous to your cat. It can significantly change the gastrointestinal tract and make the stool softer and the cats health is jeopardized. De-wormers should only be prescribed after a positive fecal sample. Think about someone giving you a pesticide that caused you to feel nauseous and then having chronic diarrhea afterward? Yuck! The longer a cat has diarrhea/soft stool the harder it is to fix in some cases.

My  best advice is to see your vet about your concerns. They can help rule out intestinal worms, poor diet, health concerns, and prescribe a tailored case specific treatment plan. No one else can help you with this except your vet.

Best of Luck,


Brittney asked;

I have 2 full blood Chihuahuas and when i first got them they didnt smell when they pooped but now it smells really crazy. What does that mean?

My answer;

The odor to feces is influenced by a few factors, like diet, age, intestinal health, intestinal parasites, etc.

The best place to start is with a fecal sample and a visit to your vets office to discuss all of these. Talk about how often the dogs defecate, what it looks like, and bring a sample to look at grossly and microscopically for intestinal parasites. I have had many pets come in for really terrible smelling feces and found tiny microscopic protozoa organisms that cause  really foul smelling poop. With a few days of a cheap widely available de-wormer most of these guys are back to normal. Some of these worms are treatable with monthly heartworm preventatives, and some are not. 

Also, some parasites are picked up by a pets feet in just a normal stroll through the grass, so everyone is susceptible to them. And, not seeing worms in the feces doesn't exclude your pet from having intestinal worms. We look for the eggs of the parasites in the feces, not the worms in the feces. 

In general, poop never smells good, but really foul smelling, watery, or abnormally colored feces should be examined at the vets.

I hope this helps,

My pups, Jekyll and Charleston.
All pet questions can be asked and answered for free at Pawbly is the place for all of us who love pets to meet, exchange information, and help each others pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Please consider joining us on our quest to help pets around the globe.

You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or at the veterinary clinic, Jarrettsville Vet.

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