April Stools: What stool samples may tell you

April stools is in full effect! This week we’d like to focus on some of the things an animal’s feces can tell you about their health status or potential health challenges that they’re facing. Stool quality is a first indicator for gut health. You can see how the animal’s digestive system is working. If all goes well, stool samples have a lower bacterial count. Organic acid based solutions are among the solution that can help to keep this bacterial count down.

Diarrhea is one of the biggest concerns in the animal production industries. It means that the feed is not taken up properly and performance will be poor. Different ‘looks’ can tell you different things about the health challenges your animal might be facing. A few examples:

Yellow stool in piglets
Piglets’ digestive systems are still immature and therefore vulnerable. When you notice that piglets have yellow stool it is best to have it checked for E. coli – the most common source of digestive upset.

Wet droppings in broilers
Ceacal or watery droppings from poultry are no direct cause for alarm. However continued diarrhea is. That could mean Clostridium perfringens or Coccidiosis are the evildoers. In the latter, you may notice blood in the feces. Clostridium perfringens is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause necrotic enteritis: a very common disease that is estimated to affect up to 40% of the commercial broiler flocks at great expense to the industry. Dark colored diarrhea is a sign of necrotic enteritis.

Risks in the value chain
Recurring wet droppings will have an effect on the results of animals further down the value chain. There will be less meat from the animals and worst case pathogens could be transmitted through the meat. All great reasons to institute a program where prevention is key and the animals are monitored carefully to make sure you detect issues as early as possible as often the feces itself will cause the problem to spread.