If your pet is bright, alert and feeling great, but had a bout of diarrhea, they may have a mild intestinal upset. However, multiple diarrhea episodes, or additional symptoms like lethargy, depression, bloody stool, vomiting, or loss of appetite, could be signs of a more serious problem and my indicate that your pet needs to be seen by the doctor.
If your pet is otherwise feeling good, is not vomiting and has no other symptoms, you want to try something at home. Give Imodium AD 1 capsule for every 20 pounds of body weight. Imodium liquid can be given at 1 ml for every 10 pounds of body weight. This can be repeated every 8 hours for up to two days. If the diarrhea continues, its time to call the office for an appointment. Immediately.
Vomiting (frothy, yellow, green, brown or bloody) and diarrhea (mucoid, yellow, watery, black or bloody), or any combination of the two comprise the most common presentations for patients at our Emergency Animal Hospital. There are a wide variety of causes behind gastrointestinal upset in pets ranging from: dietary indiscretion; viral, bacterial, rickettsial, or mycotic infections; metabolic diseases of the liver, pancreas, or kidney; inflammatory bowel diseases; or foreign body ingestion. Often, narrowing down the specific cause in a particular pet requires a little detective work and a series of diagnostic tests.
Blood work can give insight into the function of the major abdominal organs. White blood cell counts may incriminate infectious diseases. Imaging, such as radiographs (x-rays) can sometimes help visualize presence of foreign bodies or masses. Fecal tests can often identify parasites and some infectious agents, both viral and bacterial.
Sometimes wading through the barrage of diagnostic tests can take time. It is often necessary to start the patient on supportive care, to help keep them from getting worse until a cause can be identified. This usually involves the use of fluids, diarrhea and nausea medications, and often antibiotics if there is evidence of bleeding in the system.
Fluids can be given several ways, including outpatient subcutaneous fluids. However, often the most efficient way is through an intravenous catheter (IV). This ensures fluid absorption and allows the rate to be altered to meet changing patient needs. Additionally, with an IV catheter, all the other medications can be given straight to the system, speeding onset of action over other routes of administration. This does however involve hours of hospitalization, typically 12-24.
If your pet is suffering from diarrhea, maybe it is time for you to "trot" on in.