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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My dog has had really bad diarrhea days. Today some has been

Customer Question

My dog has had really bad diarrhea for 3 days. Today some has been a little less but some has been with blood. He has also been really listless today and has vomitted once. He has not had any food for 24 hour and has had limited interest in water. Now his stomach is gurgling really loudly. He is resting but gets up to pace now and then.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.
Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:
How much blood did you see? A spoonful, more, or less?
What did he bring up in his vomit?
Since Immodium can be easily overdosed in dogs, how much did you give?
How much does he weigh?
Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?
If you press on his belly, does he have any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?
Could he have eaten anything he should not have (ie bones, stones, socks, toys, plants, chemicals, human meds, etc)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The blood was minimal.
He just vomitted a little and it was just bile.
I just gave him one capsule (2 mg).
His gums are moist. He does seem a bit dehydrated but nothing too bad.
Hi belly does not appear to have any tenderness or discomfort.
He may have eaten some sticks but I don't think he has eaten anything else.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
And how much does he weigh (since Immodium has a narrow safety dosing range)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He weighs around 70 pounds
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
First, I would note that thankfully that Imodium dose was within a safe dosing range for him. The reason we don't often use this in dogs is because again it has a very small safe dosing range but we can also see constipation, bloating, and sedation when it is used. Still, in this case, we'd assume that his listlessness is at least in part related to this diarrhea as opposed to the drug alone.
Now when we see a dog show diarrhea, we do have to consider a range of causes (just as with people). The most common reasons for what you are seeing are bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, dietary indiscretion, pancreatitis, inflammatory conditions (ie IBD), cancer (hopefully less likely here but an age related concern) and ingestion of harmful items. Though as he is older, we can 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.
So, if we can put those concerns lower on our list, then you can try and settle his stomach at home. To start, I would advise putting him 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 (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. It 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.
As well, if he has vomited once and isn't keen to eat/drink, then we likely have some nausea here too. To address that, you can consider treating him with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the ones I tend to recommend are:
*Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid)
*Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac
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.
Otherwise, since diarrhea can lead to dehydration quite quickly, you need to keep a close eye on his hydration. If you are concerned that he is become dehydrated, then you do want to check his hydration. When checking a hydration status, there are a few things we can test. Further to his gums being moist, we do want to ensure his eyes are not sunken nor that he have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a video on this HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html) . If he is showing those dehydration signs at this point, that is our cue to have him to the vet since oral rehydration may not be enough to get him back on track.
Otherwise, we do want to keep him hydrated at this stage. To do this, we'd want to encourage him to keep drinking. Fresh water should always be available and low salt chicken broth can be offered to tempt him. Furthermore, as long has he doesn't have any more vomiting, you can offer or even syringe feed him Pedialyte or Lectaid (available OTC from your vets). The nice thing about these two is that they will provide hydration as well as the electrolytes that he will be losing in his diarrhea. Our maintenance rate in this situation would be 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight daily. Further to this, we'd want to also give an amount equivalent to the fluid loss his diarrhea. Of course, this total volume needs to be given over the day and he vomits when you give these, we'd have to stop as we don’t want vomiting because of our intervention.
Furthermore, there are some better anti-diarrheal options that can be used here. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure for infectious agents but would slow the diarrhea and decrease the risk of dehydration. 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/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p). This is available from your local pharmacy (we'd want to avoid Pepto Bismol if he has upper GI upset too). Furthermore, FastBalance, Pro-pectalin or 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 3 have the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI.
Overall, when we see diarrhea in a dog, there are a range of issues we must consider. Still, we can start supportive care at this stage. So, do start him on a light diet, an anti-diarrheal treatment, +/- an antacid for his nausea while monitoring his hydration. If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (since this has already been going on for a while and it does sound like it is tapping his energy levels) or he is appearing dehydrated, then I would advise following up with his vet to rule out any sinister causes of this diarrhea. If you need to do so, consider bringing a fresh fecal sample with you so that the vet can assess the feces and send it for testing if need be. Depending on their findings, they can dispense the appropriate treatment (ie antibiotic if bacterial agents, anti-parasitics for protozoal or worms, etc) to get him back to passing normal stool.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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