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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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My dog has diarrhoea. She is a mutt ( German Shepherd, Basset)

Customer Question

My dog has diarrhoea. She is a mutt (? German Shepherd, Basset) approx 32 lbs, 20 months old. We adopted her 8 months ago.

She has had some chronic diarrhoea symptoms since we got her. In the past 24 hrs she has had acute symptoms, including liquid stools, needing to poop with a high frequency (once evey 2-3 hours) straining to poop. She is in quite good spirits. The chronic symptom was a daily pattern of a normal stool followed by a soft one a few minutes apart.

Things that have changed in the past week:
- We started her on a new bag of dogfood - Costco Kirkland chicken and Rice kibble. Same brand and SKU as before, but new bag.
- She was relucant to eat food from the new bag (same brand / sku as previously), although her appetite for other food (e.g. milk bones, treats) was strong
- We tried adding a few other things to her meal to make it more appetizing including milk
- On Thurs AM I gave her some uncooked minced beef
- On Thurs PM she had a Vet appointment - for a Bordetella shot applied nasally - unrelated to this. I also discussed the chronic stool softness with the Vet, who suggested having a sample tested, including for Giardia. Other than being slightly underweight (e.g. 2 lbs) the Vet said she was in good health.
- On Thurs PM she had her first very liquid stool
- She has eaten some kibble with low sodium chicken stock since - a big bowl last night, less this AM.

We were planning to go out of town this evening and leave her with friends for 3 days and are not sure what to do now.

I plan to go ahead and get the stool sample tested, but that is probably next week.

I am looking for advice on what to do this evening.
- Are there medicines we can give her which will reduce the symptoms in the short term
- Should we continue feeding her and if so what
- Are there specific things we should be looking for as indicators of a serious problem
- Is this likely to be reaction to the raw meat I fed her, and if so how long is it likely to last.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

Are the stools mucoid (jelly like) at all? Any blood in or on them?

Any vomiting?

When did you feed her the raw meat?

Can I assume she is fully vaccinated?

Where did you adopt her from (pound? shelter? private home?)?


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Stools are essentially liquid. No discernable blood

No Vomiting

I Fed her the raw meet on Thursday AM approx 5 hours before the acute symptoms started

She is fully vacinated

I adopted her from a shelter (a good one, Tony La Russa's ARF)

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.
Ok, thanks for that information!

What kind of raw meat?

And do you know what her history was prior to you adopting her?

Is she still pretty bright and bouncy, or is she depressed and lethargic?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Kind of raw meat - Minced beef from a Safeway 1lb packet, had recently been defrosted.


We know almost nothing pior to her adoption. She was in a pound in Visalia CA prior to ARF.


She is pretty bright and bouncy. She was just playing catch with my daughter. She has her "I'm hungry" face on.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.
She sounds cute! LOL about the "I'm hungry" face!

Ok, I have been working on your answer and will be back with it in just a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

My answer is quite long, so please scroll down!

What you are describing in your dog sounds like she may have colitis. This is an inflammation of the colon.

With colitis, dogs tend to have
one or more of the following:

- more frequent bowel movements,

- a sense of urgency (which can lead to accidents in the house),

- sometimes straining, and

- it can progress to mucus and even blood on the stools.

The stools often start out a bit soft, or pudding like and become gelatinous, shiny and mucoid as it progresses. The colon normally makes mucus to help the stool to pass along, so when it is inflamed it makes a lot of mucus, and also can have erosions that lead to bleeding.

Colitis could be caused by a large number of different things.

Examples are stress, dietary indiscretion (eating something she shouldn't have), bacterial and viral infections, and parasites. In a sensitive dog, even a one-meal food change could trigger this. So, it is possible that there is a difference in the food (even though it is the same brand and SKU).

If a dog with no history of stress were to come in to my hospital, and we didn't have to consider money (so I could do all the tests I would want to do!)I would start with a physical exam and then a number of tests to rule out parasites and bacterial infections. I would treat accordingly.

They are as follows:

- fecal analysis to rule out hookworms, whipworms and coccidia

- an ELISA test for Giardia. Giardia used to be hard to diagnose, but this test is fast and easy and accurate. This would be right at the top of my list in your dog as a really high percentage of dogs who have been through shelters pick up and then carry Giardia.

- a fecal smear to look for Campylobacter

- a fecal culture (sent out to a lab) to check for Clostridium or other unusual bacteria. This test takes 3-4 days.

Then, if the dog were my patient, I would see how the dog responded to treatment as follows:

- fibre trial - I would start the dog on Metamucil or canned pumpkin (not pie filler). I usually suggest 1 tsp per 10 lbs body weight given 2 or 3 times a day of Metamucil, or 2 tablespoons twice daily per 10lbs body weight of Pumpkin. Do this for at least one week.

- medication trial:
I would try metronidazole ( as a first line treatment but there are a number other drugs that can be helpful too:
Panacur (fenbendazole, ,
Tylosin ( )
and even steroids (prednisone )

Now, in terms of what people can do at home for dogs that I have seen and diagnosed with colitis, I suggest the following:

1. When she has an episode of diarrhea and/or mucus on the stool, you should WITH-HOLD FOOD! Do not offer her regular food for 24 hours. This gives the intestines a chance to rest and heal.

*****While she is off her regular food, you can start 2 tablespoons per 10lbs body weight of canned Pumpkin given twice daily. Be sure to use plain canned pumpkin and NOT pie filler!****

2. When she is fasting, she can have lots of clear fluids.

So, water is fine, but also she can have unflavoured pedialyte, Gatorade, apple juice diluted 50:50 with water, or onion free chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Give the fluids in small amounts frequently. For a dog this size that means about 1/4 cup an hour.

3. After 24 hours if the diarrhea has stopped, you can start your dog back on a bland diet.

For patients that I see, I recommend a mixture of 75% cooked white rice, and 25% low fat protein. For the protein you could use extra lean ground beef, boiled with the fat scooped off, or chicken breast boiled with fat scooped off or even scrambled egg cooked without fat in the microwave. Feed small frequent meals. For a dog this size, I would suggest 2-3 tablespoons every 3 to 4 hours.

4. After 1-2 days on the rice mix, you would gradually change your dog back to the normal diet and food. So, on day 3, give the rice mixture, but bigger meals, spaced further apart. On day 4, mix a little tiny bit of the normal food in there, and decrease the frequency so it is down to 3 meals or so. And so on.

5. Keep your dog as quiet as possible - just out to relieve herself and back in.

I'll give you links to further information:

In terms of preventing this problem, it is very helpful to have dogs prone to this on a bit of OAT bran (very important it is OAT bran and not wheat bran) in their food daily to promote colon health. For a dog this size, I would suggest 1-2 teaspoons daily, divided between her meals.

Alternatively, you may just wish to keep her on the Metamucil or canned pumpkin. Many people find that if they freeze a can of canned pumpkin in an ice cube tray, they can just add a cube to the dog's meals easily.

Another thing which I should mention is that in patients that I see, I quite often prescribe Imodium (loperamide) to help resolve diarrhea, as long as the dog is not a herding breed like a border collie. It is quickly effective, and I have people use it for 1 or 2 days. More here about it, including dose:

The other thing that I wanted to mention is that if your girl were my patient, I would put her on a probiotic. They are very safe and help a lot of dogs! It just helps to promote the growth of "good" bacteria and reduce the "bad" bacteria in a natural and safe way. You can use FortiFlora products which are available from your veterinarian, or you can use Culturelle which is available at pharmacies in the USA. For the Culturelle, a 32 lb dog would get 1 capsule daily sprinkled on her food.
Here are links:

If your girl continues to have diarrhea, or beings to pass blood or mucus, or begins vomiting, or loses her appetite, then a call to your vet would be in order. Your vet may want to start her on metronidazole which is very quickly effective at helping to make dogs with colitis feel better.

I hope that helps you. If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Dr.Fiona and 6 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Fiona, many thanks for all of this, it is very helpful.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.
You are very welcome!

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