Ask Dr. Richards

June 2009 Issue

Ask Elizabeth: 06/09

The dark brown color of normal cat stool largely results from substances in the bile, a liquid produced in the liver that then empties into the first part of the small intestine. Bile aids in the digestion of fats and contains a number of substances, among which are breakdown products of aged red blood cells. These breakdown products impart the yellow color that is characteristic of bile. As these yellow pigments pass in stool on the way out of the body, bacteria residing in the large intestine break them down further, so their original yellow color is changed to a dark brown.

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