Let's Face It, Sh!# Happens
Let’s face it, sh!# happens. For our pets, this is a good thing! While we may think of communicating with our pets via eye contact or voice commands, we rarely think that they have the ability to communicate with us via "poop posts". When your cat or dog leaves behind a log it’s like a storybook of their body. It tells you what they ate, how it agreed (or disagreed) with them, how much water they have consumed, and of course if they really did eat Bobby's missing GI Joe figurine. The most important thing that their fecal friends tell us, is how our pets are doing.
Recently, my client noticed his 2 year old Border Collie’s poops were far from normal. Coupled with a few episodes of throwing up and lethargy, my client knew his buddy was in trouble. He knew all the signs. Based on Samson's symptoms, he knew he had to head to the vet. So off they went, but the prognosis was an upset tummy and the guys were sent on their way with just some digestive enzymes and probiotics. Samson had a couple good days then back to the alarming symptoms. The most concerning was the red jelly-like substance in his stool. Several phone calls to the vet, another trip, and 2 weeks later, Samson was finally diagnosed with Giardia; one of the parasites we discuss in the course. Typically this is found much sooner as most dogs present with liquid diarrhea and more obvious signs, but Samson is a young, extremely healthy dog, fed a species appropriate diet. His body was doing a damn good job fighting the parasite and thus masking many of the acute and overt symptoms other pets would display.
My client became Samson's hero. He knew from Samson's stools that something wasn't right. The large amount of grass he was eating and the normal stool mixed with mucous as well as blood, were all signs that something was wrong with Samson. Normally these signs would be an indication of colitis, (another condition we discuss in the course) and at the start that is what my client's vet suspected. But when the probiotics didn't work for more than a day, my client knew from Samson's poop that there was a deeper problem.
It worries me a ton to realize that a lot of people don't examine their pets poop. As a pet sitter, I have found problem poops in yards, litterboxes and while walking pups. I cannot tell you how many people either don't look at the poop, hurriedly scooping it in the bag, or thought that jelly-like melted Hershey kiss was normal. Donna Solomon, DVM wrote a great piece on poop in the Chicago Huffington Post called, The Scoop On Your Pet's Poop. She describes what the poop should be like, what it can tell us, and just how important it is to checkout our fur-friends production pieces.
So while Fido is checking out the weekly pee-mail on the telephone pole, or while you're digging for snickers in Bella's box, take a close look at your pets poop. There might just be a story you could be missing.
For more information, take our pet first aid class!