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Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16330
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Dog is lethargic and has had 2 episodes of bloody diarrhea.

Customer Question

Dog is lethargic and has had 2 episodes of bloody diarrhea. He's drooling occasionally.!did not eat this morning. Problem we are in Key West. His regular vet is closed nearest emergency clinic 1 /2 hours away, he is approximately 8 years old.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the dog. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Cooper
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Cooper?
Customer: Iis my son's dog. I know he's had bloody diarrhea in the past. The vet is one and a half hours away. His gums are pink and moist.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 months ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 months ago.

I am very sorry to hear about your fellow Cooper's loose stools with blood, lack of appetite and drooling.

Of course anyone would be concerned about blood in the stool. The fresher the blood appears the closer the source is to his rectum.

The important factor in all of this is how your boy feels. If he felt great otherwise then that is a good sign. The fact that he is drooling and refuses to eat does concern me, but I understand emergency help isn't easy to get to.

There is a condition in dogs called hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. These dogs have profuse dark, jelly-clot like, bloody diarrhea. They are very sick dogs and get dehydrated quickly so they need immediate care. Thus if he seems lethargic and/or begins vomiting an emergency veterinary visit is best even though it is far.

But colitis or inflammation of the large intestine, can be due to stress, a change in diet, parasites, a viral or bacterial infection, inflammatory bowel disease or even a food allergy. Rarely a mass in the colon can be the cause, or exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides. Another possibility is an anal gland infection. These are scent glands that are located just inside the rectum and an infection can cause a bloody discharge, though that should not cause loose stools.

A raw, irritated colon can take a few days to heal. Do you know if he got into anything that may have started all of this? The bleeding should clear completely with treatment over the next 2 to 3 days. If not he should be checked by his regular veterinarian and his anal glands should be checked. Well worth checking at least a couple fresh stool samples too as parasites can cause bloody stools and their eggs/cysts are shed intermittently, so they may be picked up on the second sample or third test even if the first is negative.

We can try some things at home.

Since his appetite is off and he's drooling he may have some stomach upset and reflux that can go along with his bloody stools.

To try and settle his stomach today you can give either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at a dose of one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.

OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of one half of a 20mg tablet per 20 to 40 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. They can be given for several days.

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

Today even with the fast you can start Kao-pectate at 1/2ml per pound or 1/2 tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight every 8 hours. This will coat his irritated gi tract as well as absorbing bacterial toxins. You can find kao-pectate at the drug store.

If he has a tense painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with no improvement after being on kao pectate for 24 hours, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then he really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Make sure to take a fresh stool sample with you when you go.

After his food fast start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or boiled, white skinless chicken), all fats drained off, mixed with 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day. You might wish to add 2 tablespoon of canned pumpkin to each meal as fiber helps soothe an irritated colon. I recommend adding probiotics like Fortiflora, Proviable or Benebac to his meals daily to re-establish normal gut bacteria levels too.

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

If your pup is vomiting and feeling poorly though it would be best that he see a veterinarian now as anything you give him orally will just come back up worsening his dehydration.

Best of luck with your pup, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 6 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****