My 12 year old recsue mutt (mix of siberian husky, german shepherd, lab, dingo??) has had diarrhea for about 3 day. I

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Customer: My 12 year old white recsue mutt (mix of siberian husky, white german shepherd, lab, dingo??) has had diarrhea for about 3 day.   I started her on rice mixed with her usual food (old lady Iams) yesterday but her symptoms have not improved. She seems to be her usual self otherwise, which is kind of slow (as she has arthritis) and her appetite is good. Should I take her to the vet? Or should I wait another day or two on rice/yogurt/kibble diet and see how she does?
Answered by MD for Pets in 16 mins 13 years ago
MD for Pets
Pet Specialist

106 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Dog Veterinary, Dog Medicine, Dog Diseases, Small Animal Veterinary

Hi thereCustomer

Sorry to hear about your poor girl having diarrhea for the past 3 days.

Diarrhea is one of the most common problems veterinarians treat, and can be frustrating since they can be caused by so many things. When I think about diarrhea, I like to divide it into two classes of causes:


Causes from within the gastrointestinal tract:

- parasite/bacterial overgrowth

- gastroenteritis (inflammation of the GI tract)

- upset from eating abnormal foods

- inflammatory bowel disease

- food allergies

- cancerous processes


Causes from outside the intestinal tract:

- liver disease

- kidney disease

- pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas leading to inappropriate release of enzymes)

- endocrine diseases like Addison's disease

Based on the fact that your girl is still acting like herself, and has a good appetite, I would probably give her another day or so of conservative at home management. Instead of mixing rice with her normal diet, I would try to mix rice with ground beef/ground turkey/chicken/cottage cheese (any one of these proteins is fine). You can give her several small meals (3-4) of this bland diet for the next day or so to see if it improves her diarrhea. If her diarrhea improves (or resolves), then I would combine this bland mixture and her normal diet, and transition her back to her regular food over the course of another 3-4 days.

If at any time during the next 36 hours, she develops lethargy, vomiting, worsened diarrhea, anorexia, blood in her stool, changes in water consumption or urination, or any other concerning changes, I would have her re-evaluated by a veterinarian right away. Additionally, if her diarrhea does not resolve by Monday, I would also have her evaluated by your veterinarian. Bringing a fresh stool sample with you to look for parasites may also be helpful. In additional to a fecal examination, and after a complete physical examination, your veterinarian will likely need to perform complete bloodwork (complete blood count, serum chemistry, and urinalysis) and may recommend abdominal x-rays and/or ultrasound.

From there, they may recommend further testing or treatment, which may include deworming medication (even if no parasites are seen), antibiotics (especially one called metronidazole, which has good activity against bacterial overgrowth in the intestines and anti-inflammatory properties within the intestines), and a prescription diet.

I hope this information is helpful and that your girl is back to normal soon. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Thanks so much. Should I cook the ground meat (beef/turkey, etc) before mixing it with the rice?
Also, doubt she ingested something to cause this problem. Because of her age and because her mobility is limited by arthritis, she has not been out romping for a while. Do you know Pets Unlimited in SF? Sophie has been going there since she was 8 weeks old, but they are sooooo expensive! There is nothing I will not do for her but I hope I can cure her of this nasty episode at home.

Yougurt? Thanks. Bonnie
Bonnie, you are very welcome. Thank you for the accept!

I usually cook the meat and rice separately (in large quanities for a big dog), then mix them together after they are cooked. I am not a huge fan of yogurt, usually because of the sugar in it, which can pull more water into the intestines, and worsen diarrhea.

I agree with you, in an older dog with decreased mobility, getting into things they shouldn't is far less likely than with an older dog. The only reason I put it on the list is to be thorough and make sure I have covered the most common things I see.

I don't have any experience with Pets Unlimited in San Francisco. My only trips to California have been to the LA and San Diego areas. I know it can be expensive for good care (which it sounds like she has been getting between you and her long term vet!). It just hits so much closer to home when we pay out of pocket, whereas for us, if we are insured, we usually don't know how much thing cost.

I hope you are able to fix things at home too! Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help!

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MD for Pets
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