First, I am glad to see that you are seeing none of those more severe signs I asked about. Though I would note that we do need to keep an eye
on his gum moisture, since that is an early sign of dehydration starting to creep in.
Now when we see a dog show GI signs of this nature, we do have to consider a range of causes (just as with people). The most common reasons for these signs are dietary indiscretion (eating something he shouldn’t have), viral infections (ie parvo
, etc), inflammatory conditions (ie IBD), toxins, intestinal parasitism, and a bacterial gastroenteritis. If he isn't a mischievous wee soul, then hopefully we can put worries like toxins and foreign bodies (which we' d want to address as soon as possible) lower on our list of concerns.
With all this in mind, since he can keep water down, we can try some supportive care to see if we can break his fast and get him back on track. To start, there are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are:
*Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/famotidine
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/ranitidine-hcl-zantac/page1.aspx)
We tend to want to use these 20 minutes before offering food to allow it to take effect. And of course, if he is has any pre-existing issues or is on any other medications that you haven't noted, you'd want to check with his vet before using these.
Once that is on board, we'd want to start him on a light/easily digestible diet. Examples include cooked white rice with boiled chicken
, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs
(made with water and not milk), or cottage cheese. There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). The easily digestible diet tends to be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. And if a infectious agent is wrecking havoc on the GI, then we want to be making his ability to gain nutrients as easy as possible for the gut. You want to offer small frequent meals, as this will also aid in decreasing diarrhea load. If he does settle on this diet, then we'd want to keep him on it for at least a week and then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over another week.
Just to note, since these GI signs can lead to dehydration in the dog, we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check his hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have him seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for him. (since it is often the dehydration that starts to tap their energy level, depresses them, and makes them feel ill).
If you are concerned that he is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage him to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Furthermore, you can offer rehydration solutions like Pedialyte. Pedialyte is nice (though aim for a flavorless one) because it will get some of those lost electrolytes back into him as well. Do note we wouldn't usually syringe feed vomiting dogs, but in his case we can potentially do so. In that case, a typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48mls per kilogram of weight a day. Of course, his requirement will be higher since we'd have to also consider how much fluid is being lost via his diarrhea and add that in. And of course, if he were to vomit when you offered fluids via syringe, you would need to stop (since we'd not want to cause vomiting with our intervention).
Finally, since his lack of loose stool at this moment is likely related to his not eating
(since little in = little out), I do want to note that if you were to see a return of the diarrhea then there are some anti-diarrheals that can be used for him. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure (since cures would depend on the culprit and might include antibiotics or anti-parasitics, etc.) but would slow the diarrhea to aid the body potentially absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p/page1.aspx ) available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Propectalin, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the last ones have the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI.
Lastly, since you noted some financial issues, I do want to leave some information that could help if he doesn't settle with supportive care. First, two chain vet practices, Banfield and VCA, do offer a free first consultation. This would at least offset some of the cost of having him seen. You can find the vouchers for these at:
VCA veterinary hospitals (http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/offer) or
Banfield Veterinary hospitals (http://www.banfield.com/landing-pages/coupon?)
Just in case you don't have a VCA or Banfield near you, then consider checking out the Humane Society's database. They have a lot of branches nationwide, along with ties to other assistance organizations, that can keep down costs and subsidize care (http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html) and surely will be willing to help in a situation such as this. The same goes for ASPCA (https://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/financial-help-my-vet-bills). Hopefully, you won't need these, but just in case.
Overall, your lad's signs do suggest GI upset targeting the intestines and the stomach
together. Therefore, as long as he has had no access to anything toxic
or non-edible, you can take the above steps to settle his stomach and monitor his hydration. If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (or he develops belly pain or cannot keep water down), then we'd want to follow up with a local vet to make sure there is nothing sinister afoot. The vet will be able to have a feel of his belly for sinister lumps and bumps or anything that doesn't belong. Depending on their findings, they will be able to treat him with antibiotics against bacterial gastroenteritis, anti-nausea medication by injection to help settle his stomach to get him back on track as quick as possible.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,