Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea

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What causes chronic diarrhoea (longer than 7 days duration) in dogs?

 
First of all it is prudent to point out that dogs with chronic diarrhoea may be off colour but are generally still eating and active. If your dog has acute or bloody diarrhoea it is best to get him to the vet as soon as possible.
To start with it helps to differentiate between small (intestinal) and large (colonic) bowel diarrhoea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Small Intestine Large Intestine
Frequency of defaecation Normal Increased
Amount of faeces Lots Small amounts frequently
Urgency to go to toilet Absent Present
Mucous in faeces Absent Present
Blood in faeces Absent Present
Meleana (black tarry faeces) Present Absent
Flatulence Present sometimes Absent
Weight loss Present sometimes Rare
Vomiting Present sometimes Occasional
 
Once this is established you can consider which ailment affects which part of the gastrointestinal tract.
 
  Small Intestine Large Intestine
Parasites Hookworm and whipworm Hookworm and whipworm
  Giardia Giardia
  Coccidia  
Diet related Lactose intolerance Fibre deficiency
  Gluten intolerance Food hypersensitivity
  Food hypersensitivity  
Infection Campylobacter/salmonella Campylobacter/salmonella
    Clostridia
Inflammatory/inflitrative Eosinophilic enteritis Eosinophilic enteritis
  Lymphocytic plasmocytic enteritis Lymphocytic plasmacytic enteritis
    Histiocytic enteritis
    Pseudomembranous enteritis
Cancer Adenocarcinoma Lymphosarcoma
  Lymphosarcoma  
Miscellaneous Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency Stress
  Cushings disease  
 
How do you diagnose what the problem is?
 
Your veterinarian will run a series of tests including faecal tests, blood tests and possibly even a colonoscopy with intestinal biopsies taken.
 
How do you treat chronic diarrhoea?
 
Treatment will very much depend on the cause of the problem. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe medication as necessary.
 
There are general treatments that are available over the counter which help to firm up the stool and repopulate the good bacteria in the bowel. These probiotics come in various forms.
A lot of diarrhoeas will respond to dietary therapy, either in the form of a highly digestible intestinal specific diet or a hypoallergenic diet.
It is best to thoroughly deworm your dog as intestinal worms are easily treated.
Giardia (a protozoal disease) can be treated with various dewormers but sometimes antibiotics are needed to clear it completely.
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is caused by the pancreas inability to produce digestive enzymes and is characterised by fatty stools and lack of weight gain. It can be treated by supplementing the diet with pancreatic enzymes or pigs pancreas obtained from local butcher.