Diarrhea in dogs is a very complicated thing to diagnose because, for one, the intestines are inside the body, and we only see what comes out the end of them, and two, because almost any illness can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea that continues for a few days doesn’t necessarily mean “the end.” It can mean anything from a gastro bug, to a food allergy, to end stage liver cancer. All of those cause diarrhea. and differentiating between them is the important part.There are three basic things your vet needs from you to work out what could be causing your dogs’ diarrhea.
1 – HISTORY
Answer these eight simple questions to provide your vet with an accurate history
1. How long has your dog been having diarrhea? (a few days mean very different things to a few months)
2. Did your dog eat anything different from his normal food in the few days before the diarrhea started? (rule out food allergies/intolerance)
3. Was he off his food at all and is he still off his food? (may indicate more serious problems that cause nausea such as kidney or liver problems)
4. Did she vomit at all and when? (one vomit is usually nothing to be concerned about unless it is accompanied by anorexia or very poor appetite or the animal vomits persistently)
5. Has the appearance of the diarrhea changed from when it began to now? (Texture, mucus, blood and color)
6. Is your dog vaccinated up to date? (In puppies viruses like Canine Parvo Virus (cat flu), Corona Virus and Infectious Canine Hepatitis all cause nasty contagious diarrhea)
7. Is your dog wormed regularly? (Bad hookworm infections can cause diarrhea and weight loss)
8. Have there been any other animals or people sick that your dog has been in contact with? (contagious gastroenteritis eg. Giardia)
1. The color of your dog’s gums
Pale gums can indicate internal bleeding, shock or heart failure, which are all serious illnesses that would necessitate admitting your pet and putting her on a drip as well as doing further tests.
Jaundiced gums can indicate liver problems or problems with blood breakdown in some serious immune conditions.
Dark brick red gums can indicate shock due to blood concentration in bloody fast acting diarrhea.
A yucky brown slime on the gums accompanied by halitosis can indicate kidney failure.
Large oral growths can indicate cancer that may have spread internally or be bleeding into the stomach.
2. Skin Turgor
What this means is your vet will lift the skin on your dog’s neck and check to see if it “tents”, which would indicate dehydration and the need to put your pet on a drip. Skin that “tents” is skin that stays stuck together for a few seconds before dropping back down. Normal skin pops back to it’s original place almost immediately.
3. Your dog’s heartbeat, pulse and lung sounds
A dog that has a weak, rapid thready pulse may be in shock from dehydration and may need life giving fluids.
An obvious heart murmur along with free fluid in the belly or fluid on the lungs can indicate heart failure that needs to be treated with diuretics to get the excess fluid out the body.
4. Feeling your dog’s abdomen
Your vet will check for the following:
Pain – especially right near the front of the abdomen can indicate inflammation of the pancreas or a stomach ulcer. Pain further back can indicate a blockage and gas built up behind it.
Lumps and bumps – Any lump or bumpiness that is felt needs to be checked. Lumps in the liver or spleen can be cancerous and lumps in the intestines can be swollen glands, cancer or a blockage like a stone your dog may have swallowed.
Feel of the intestines – can any solid stools be felt or is it all liquid? Is there a lot of gas built up?
Your vet will check to see if your dog’s temperature is normal:A high temperature.......
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