Dear VetBabble: Addressing Diarrhea in Dogs and When to Be Concerned
Question: “My 7-year-old Yorkie exhibited diarrhea three times over three months. The first two times he had bloody stools. There hasn’t been any shift in his diet, energy level or demeanor. The vet thought it was an upset stomach. I was wondering if I should be worried or is it something normal?”
Dog owners everywhere ask similar questions, often feeling concerned when noticing recurrent diarrhea in their pets. While it’s perfectly understandable why this might cause excessive worry, let’s delve into some possible explanations and solutions for such digestive issues.
1. Deciphering Canine Digestive Issues
Diarrhea in dogs isn’t always a cause for immediate concern, but it’s essential to understand what could be potentially causing this condition. Given that your Yorkie hasn’t demonstrated changes in diet, energy levels, or demeanor, your vet’s initial diagnosis of upset stomach or gastroenteritis does seem feasible.
Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and is often characterized by symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. The frequent diarrhea could indicate your dog consuming something outside of his regular diet, perhaps during a walk or playtime, which might have caused some gastric disturbance.
2. Identifying More Serious Symptoms
An isolated incident of diarrhea is usually no cause for alarm. However, if accompanied by additional symptoms such as blood in the stool, it raises the seriousness of the issue. Blood in the stool, as you’ve witnessed with your Yorkie, could be a sign of a more serious digestive issue such as Coccidia.
Since the bloody stool was not consistent with every episode of diarrhea, it’s essential to watch for other signs of illness during these times, such as lethargy. If the diarrhea is accompanied by this or other troublesome signs, ‘Diarrhea in Dogs: When to Worry’ provides a comprehensive guide on when it’s time to consult your vet.
3. Proactive Care and Prevention
One important question to consider is if your Yorkie was de-wormed recently? Regular de-worming can help prevent intestinal parasites, which can contribute to digestive disruptions. Being vigilant about your dog’s overall behavior and energy levels, like you’ve done, is crucial. Always ensure that your dog is not too lethargic, which could be a sign of a more serious underlying issue. Our guide, ‘Is My Puppy Tired or Lethargic?‘, provides excellent insights.
While common, diarrhea should not be disregarded if it’s a frequent occurrence in your dog. Regular vet visits and maintaining a record of any changes in behavior or bodily functions can ensure early detection and swift treatment, maintaining your furry friend’s health and happiness!