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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16243
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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Our 4 yr old GSD had black stools that look like coffee

Customer Question

Our 4 yr old GSD had black stools that look like coffee grinds this am. It happened a week ago also. In between he seems fine and stools look normal. He also not infrequently vomits grass that we think he does in order to vomit.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did the dog eat anything unusual?
Customer: Huge mess but we don't know if he ate anything unusual (we feed him mostly in am) and last night he went fine.
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Tzar
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Tzar?
Customer: No- he's a great dog, usually good appetite. Fine otherwise
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Are his gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Could he have eaten something he should not have (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
His gums are pink and moist and his belly seems ok or at least he doesn't pull away or whimper. I can't feel any tensing or rigidity. As far as we know he hasn't eaten anything unusual, but of course, that's only what we know. In the past he has eaten grass that causes him to vomit but other than last week and this am we have not seen such black stools. He also cannot hold these stools ––he's well house trained and these stool are found in the house near the door indicating that he was trying to go out.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Thank goodness,

I am glad to hear that you are not seeing those signs with him.

The reason I asked is because black stools are quite a serious concern. This is because black tarry feces (melena) is something we see when a animal has a bleed in the upper region of the gastrointestinal tract (ie stomach or upper GI). The reason why the blood discolors the feces to black is due to the body digesting the blood as it passes down the intestine.

In regards ***** ***** for upper GI bleeds, the most common causes are stomach ulcers, stomach damage due to foreign body ingestion, adverse reaction to some medications, and stomach or intestinal tumors. And it is worth noting that all of these issues would cause nausea which is likely why he eats grass.

With all this in mind, we do need to be proactive with Tzar (especially since we cannot see into his bleeding stomach to tell us how serious this is). Therefore, if possible, it would be ideal to get him to the vet as soon as possible. They can help diagnose what is triggering his signs and get him onto some oral gastroprotectants (ie sucralfate) to coat any open stomach lesions, and GI safe pain relief (ie bupenorphine, etc).

Though since he sounds fairly stable just now, if you cannot get him to the vet immediately, then I would say to at least consider treating him with an antacid to lower the stomach acid pH. OTC options would include Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid), Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/cimetidine-hcl-tagamet), or Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac). You will want to give these 20 minutes before offering food and under the circumstances you will want to treat every 12 hours.

Overall, I am concerned about Tzar with these signs. They are tell us that we have an upper GI bleed that could be a sign of a stomach ulcer or possibly something worse (like a tumor). Therefore, it would be ideal to get him checked as soon as we can If there is any delay in doing so, then do treat him with an antacid now and keep a close eye on for any emergency signs (ie belly pain or paling of his gums) but we do want to get to the root of this for him.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello again,

How is everything with your wee one?

Dr. B.