How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 23852
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Michael Salkin is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

He eats human feces when out hiking. He usually vomits it up

Customer Question

He eats human feces when out hiking. He usually vomits it up at night.I read it could be Vitamin B-12 deficiency I was going to add it to his daily supplements, He is on 0.7mg thyroid medication BID and Taurine 1000mg BID. He is an English golden 4years old and weighs about 83lbs.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully it didn't make a mess. Did the dog eat anything unusual?
Customer: just human feces he searches for on hikes
JA: What is the dog's name?
Customer: Coop
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Coop?
Customer: He has a mild mitro valve leak that is being monitored by cardiologist
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 days ago.

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 days ago.

It's likely to be a bit more complicated than a dietary vitamin B12 deficiency although such a deficiency is seen with maldigestion/malabsoption disorders. It locates a malabsorption disorder to the ileum - the most distal portion of the small intestine. The ultimate cause of coprophagia in adult dogs has always been elusive. Some feel that the problem is behavioral, while others are convinced there is an organic reason. Soft stools, incomplete digestion of food within the stools, evidence of steatorrhea (fat in the feces), increased stool frequency or volume, or a voracious appetite might indicate a problem with maldigestion or malabsorption. Other gastrointestinal disturbances such as inflammatory bowel disease, systemic health problems including renal failure and endocrinopathies (unlikely in an otherwise normal 4 year old, medications such as glucocorticoids (prednisone, e.g.), central nervous system diseases or any disease process that causes polyphagia (increased hunger) might lead to picas (eating non-digestibles) and coprophagia. Calorie-restricted diets, especially those that are not balanced or do not adequately satiate the dog may also lead to picas including coprophagia. Recent research has suggested that there may indeed be a medical component to the problem in some cases. In a small study of nine coprophagic dogs, all had at least one laboratory abnormality that could explain the problem. The laboratory profile included a complete blood count, complete biochemical profile, amylase, lipase, trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI), vitamin B12, folate, fecal fat, fecal trypsin, fecal muscle fiber, trace minerals including zinc, selenium, copper, iron, magnesium and boron, and fecal sedimentation (an ova and parasite exam). Most had borderline to low TLI (suggesting pancreatic exocrine enzyme deficiency) while others had abnormalities in folate, vitamin B12 or other nutrients.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Related Dog Questions