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The Importance of Faecal Indices in Assessing Gastrointestinal Parasite Infestation and Bacterial Infection in the Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)


Diagnosis of gastrointestinal pathogens and parasites using fecal indices

Texture of feces Color of feces Presence of blood Occasional accompanying symptoms Most probable cause
Stringy, semi-solid / loose / diarrhea Light brown / green Usually none, but can be present in cases of heavy infestation; usually seen as bleeding from the mouth Appetite loss; weight loss, sometimes sudden in onset Nematode infestation: Crenosoma striatum
Semi-solid / crumbly:- undigested food present Light brown Usually none Mediocre appetite; very little/no weight gain or gradual weight loss Nematode infestation: Capillaria erinacei or trematodes such as Brachylaemus spp.
Mostly normal, but sometimes slightly loose Normal color (dependent on food eaten) with dark green segment at one end of stool Usually none Weight gain might be a little slower than expected Hymenolepis erinacei
Diarrhea Bright/very light green Usually present. Amount signifies degree of progression of the infestation/damage to gut wall Appetite loss Protozoan infestation: Isospora, resulting in Coccidiosis
Diarrhea Brown Large amount of blood produced from mouth and anus due to hemorrhaging tissue Extremely rapid weight loss leading to emaciated appearance, dehydration, collapse then death if not treated immediately Bacterial infection: Clostridium perfringens or threadworms such as Capillaria aerophila
Diarrhea, very watery Brown Not usually Extremely restless. Often seen walking purposefully in the daylight, usually followed by collapse due to exhaustion and dehydration Bacterial infection: Escherichia coli
Semi-solid / loose / diarrhea Dark green Occasionally Appetite loss Bacterial infection: Salmonella spp.
Dry, hard stools Black / brown (color essentially determined by diet, but darker than normal) None Appetite loss and occasionally restless Recent treatment for intestinal worms, which may have resulted in a blockage / food too dry

Note: Other conditions besides parasites can cause abnormal feces and bloody feces

Parasite Article

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