How to Treat Dogs for Diarrhea

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If a dog has diarrhea, a veterinarian will typically look at a fecal sample to see if there is a parasite or an abnormal overgrowth of bacteria. Learn about antibiotics used to treat diarrhea in dogs with help from a veterinarian in this free video on treating dogs for diarrhea.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Health
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Video Transcript

Today, we're going to talk a little about how to treat diarrhea in your dog. I'm a veterinarian in Southern California. I'm Dr. Greg McDonald. Oftentimes, it's one of the most common things that we see is diarrhea in dogs, and mostly, I think, because dogs are running around, trying to find everything. They just are scavengers and they eat everything that they come into, and then that upsets their GI tract and they will often have diarrhea. So, it's important, first of all, to know that diarrhea can be a serious problem in dogs and it can be caused by a lot of medical problems, as well as indiscriminate eating. And so, if your dog has diarrhea for any length of time, more than a day or two, it's very important to call your veterinarian. Oftentimes, the first thing that your veterinarian is going to want to do is just bring a fecal sample in. And if it's something that's simple, like a parasite or an abnormal overgrowth of bacteria, that may be all that's necessary. We look at the stool sample. We call the owner up if we find a problem and have them come in and get some medication. This is one of the little vials that we send home, and it's, again, specially designed to get the little bit of stool from your dog. You can see it's got a little spatula on it. You scoop a little bit up and you put it in this vial and then you bring that down to your veterinarian, and they're going to help you make a diagnosis as to why your dog has diarrhea. Oftentimes, we find an abnormal bacteria growth in the stool. We just see all these bacteria that are there that really shouldn't be there, so we pick an antibiotic that will go ahead and be very selective and get a normal balance of bacteria back into the GI tract. We do have normal bacteria that is beneficial to help us digest our food, but then again, we do have some abnormal imbalances, and that's when we really want to start with something like this product, which is called Metronidazole. This is one that I commonly use to try and get control of a diarrhea problem because the dog has an abnormal bacterial growth, and this is an antibiotic that pretty much stays into the GI tract and it doesn't affect the dog in any other way. Sometimes, even with one dose of this the animal will start to have normal stools again. Oftentimes, the diarrhea causes a real irritation in the GI tract and so we have an inflammation in the bowel and it helps to really calm that down, and so this is another product that we like to use. It's called the kaolin and pectolin, and again, this is a really nice product because it soothes the GI tract. And we start giving this sometimes every four hours until we see normal stools or until the diarrhea stops. This is a liquid that we send home with each case of diarrhea, and again, it really helps to get control over it quickly. Another thing that fools owners sometimes is when an animal is young they have a great digestive tract and they can eat anything without problems. As they get to be a little older, about eight years old, then their GI tract gets a little more finicky and things that they used to be able to eat they can't eat anymore. So, when they start getting into that finicky area and they're staining your rugs with diarrhea it might be a good idea to get them on a bland diet and cut out the table scraps. Sometimes I even had a hard time getting owners to understand that the animal's GI tract has changed because they want to keep doing the same thing they did the whole time in the dog's life, but now they're starting to cause diarrhea in their dog.

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