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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19537
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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He ate water softener salt pellets a couple days ago and has

Customer Question

He ate water softener salt pellets a couple days ago and has been having diarrhea and now is walking with his back hunched up and doesn't want to eat. He ate and drank the previous 2 days but doesn't want to eat now. Can I give him pepto bismol? He's weighs about 60 pounds
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. The Veterinarian will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Ziggy
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Ziggy?
Customer: He's a pointer lab mix and generally very active. He's 12 but most people think he's like 6 because of his energy. He keeps doing the hoochy scoots in the grass after having diarrhea.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 months ago.

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

What does his diarrhea look like? Any blood?

Any retching, gagging, lip licking, drooling, or vomiting?

Are his gums nice and pink (not white/pale)? Moist or sticky?

If you press on his belly, any tensing, tenderness, discomfort, or pain?

Any redness or sores around his rectum?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No blood in his stool. No vomiting or lip smacking. Gums pink and seem moist. He doesn't yelp when I push on his belly but it does make him hunch up more. Butt hole looks normal. He just seems kind of lazy and doesn't really want to walk around but if you call him he will get up
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The day he ate the salt he threw up blood but that stopped after 24 hours and then the diarrhea started. He's been eating rice with a small amount of dog food the last two days but today he doesn't seem to want to eat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 months ago.

Thank you,

Now we need to tread with care. Most of these water softeners are mostly salt which can actually be very irritating to the gut (and we could have a risk of a stomach ulcer) but can also be dangerous as it can affect the electrolyte levels in the body. So, we do need to tread with care as we try to soothe his signs.

To start, since he has appetite loss with Ziggy now, we'd be best to hold off on Pepto Bismol (as the aspirin/salicylic acid can irritate the stomach as well). Instead, we are approach this situation with a few alternatives. To start, for the diarrhea, we can use 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 OTC at most pharmacies and it will coat the stomach and reduce diarrhea. Alternatively, we can use a Kaolin/probiotc paste like Propectalin, Canikur, Fast Balance, and Protexin Pro-Fiber (all OTC at vets, pet stores, and even Amazon).

Afterwards, we'd want to start small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. The rice is good but you can instead add boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (garlic/onion free) to it. There are also OTC vet diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity) too. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the upset gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset and less diarrhea. Canned pumpkin can also be added to this to firm the stools quicker. And if he refuses to eat but isn't actively vomiting, we can offer or syringe feed watered down Hill's A/D, Royal Canin Recovery, puppy food, or Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet. All of these are calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise.

Though if he seems unsettled and still not keen to eat after the Kaolin, we can try to tackle the underlying nausea from this situation. To do so, we'd want to consider an OTC pet safe antacid [ie 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)]. Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do double check with your vet if he has a known health issues or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.

Finally since this type of toxicity and diarrhea both can cause dehydration, we'd want to monitor that closely. Further to checking for gum moisture, you will want to make sure his eyes are not looking sunken and that he doesn’t have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a good video HERE (http://www.ehow.com/video_12232503_dog-dehydrated.html). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have him seen before this becomes an additional issue (especially as it is often dehydration that makes them feel unwell).

Overall, we need to tread with care given what Ziggy has eaten. Pepto Bismol isn't ideal since he has anorexia and likely underlying nausea (possibly from an ulcer or electrolyte imbalance or non-related pancreatitis). So, it would be better to use the above step-by-step to coat the gut, slow the diarrhea and then counter any lingering nausea. Of course, if he cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, has pale gums (a sign of bleeding ulcers), or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get his vet involved. They can assess his hydration, start fluids, injectable anti-nausea medication +/- appetite stimulants to overcome this for him.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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