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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 4 yr old toy poodle has great difficulty defecating. Her

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My 4 yr old toy poodle has great difficulty defecating. Her stools are loose and conitinue dropping for several minutes. her dog food and pet treats have not changed in several years and yet this problem is recent. We use Great Life food and Zukes treats. No table food. Any ideas?

Hello, I am sorry to hear about Zoe's diarrhea, she sounds very uncomfortable.

Diarrhea means that the gastrointestinal system is irritated. If her colon is affected you may see mucous or bright red blood in her stool, the darker the blood the more digested it is and the farther up the gastrointestinal tract it is from, you might also see more of a constant urge to go and small amounts of diarrhea frequently. If it is small bowel diarrhea you won't see mucous or bright red blood but can see more stool then usual and it will often be watery, although the frequency won't be much different then usual.

Diarrhea can be from a bacterial or viral infection, eating something she should not have (toys, bones, bugs, your other dog's food etc), gastrointestinal parasites, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, and a quick change in diet. Inflammatory bowel disease is possible but cancer is less likely as she is a bit young for that.

If she still feels well though we can try some things at home.

If she has some stomach gurgling she may have some stomach upset and reflux that can go along with diarrhea.
To try and settle her stomach today you can try either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
These will reduce stomach acid and should help if this is related to simple nausea and gastrointestinal irritation. If there's no increase in intestinal noise and her appetite remains good you can skip acid reducers.


I would not feed her any food for 24 hours. This should help stop gut spasms and restore normal gut motility. Small amounts of water or ice cubes given frequently are fine as she needs fluids after all that she has lost with diarrhea. You can give her pedialyte to replace electrolytes too but Gatorade is much too high in sugar which can make her diarrhea worse.

Today even with the fast you can start Kao-pectate at 1ml per pound or 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of body weight every 6 to 8 hours. This is quite safe and will coat her irritated gi tract as well as absorbing bacterial toxins. You can use it for several days until her diarrhea stops. You can find kao-pectate at the drug store.

If she has a tense painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with the stool not firming up at all after being on kao pectate for 24 hours, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then she really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

After 24 hours start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled hamburger (or white skinless chicken), all fats and juices drained off mixed with 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day.

Once she feels better (no diarrhea for 48 hours) start mixing in regular dog food very slowly. Less bland more regular with each day. It should take a week or so to convert her back.

You should submit a fresh stool to her veterinarian for a parasite check even if she seems to be feeling better. Parasites are a very common cause of diarrhea and can be shed episodically, so the symptoms can be on and off.


If her diarrhea becomes more consistent and doesn't resolve then she should have a fecal culture, some blood tests looking for underlying organ disease and possibly intestinal biopsies to look for inflammatory bowel disease.
Let me know if you have any more questions.

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