Diarrhea in Dogs and Cats - Symptoms, Dangers and Treatment


A common sign of gastric and intestinal changes, diarrhea in dogs and cats (which consists of the evacuation of fecal content with excessive amounts of water) can present itself in a more sudden (acute) or chronic form - persisting for weeks, months or years.

Being able to bring great risks to the life of the animals when not diagnosed in time, the diarrhea in dogs and cats must be promptly verified - requiring the following steps to be taken by the pet's tutors:

  • Avoid offering large quantities of food to the dog or cat involved when noticing the presence of objects, blood or worms in the soft stools
  • See a veterinarian immediately for diagnostic research of what may be causing the symptom - and to receive necessary treatment recommendations

The conditions considered most severe in the emergency room are those that start acutely and involve a large loss of fluid in the feces, with or without the presence of blood. Generally, the diarrhea in pets it is related to causes that include viral infections (parvovirus), parasites (hookworms, giardia), traumatic (being run over), neoplastic (lymphoma), iatrogenic (damage to the mucosa caused by a thermometer or enema tube), intussusceptions, intoxications, presence of foreign body or, still, caused by the animal's diet - as a result of a sudden exchange of nutrients, ingestion of excess (or spoiled) food or intolerance / sensitivity to a certain food.

For the differentiation of the comprehensive diagnostic possibility, it is essential that a history is presented on the characteristics and frequency of diarrhea, its chronology, medications used, the animal's habits and the environment involved; because even the animal's posture can bring important information - such as the arched spine, which can signal abdominal pain.

In most cases, hospitalization of the animal is recommended for the treatment of support with fluids(who replace the electrolytes lost with diarrhea), administer the necessary medications and perform tests such as:

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  • Blood count
  • Renal and hepatic function
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Parasitological examination
  • Serology
  • Endocrine tests
  • Colonoscopy
  • Fecal Culture
  • Biopsies
  • Exploratory laparotomy

As it is a symptom and does not indicate a specific disease, the diarrhea in dogs and cats always represents a great challenge in terms of diagnosis; therefore, the more information about the condition is passed to the veterinarian, the greater the possibility that the professional will order exams that can, in fact, help to solve the condition - increasing the possibility of the animal's survival and facilitating the indication of effective treatment and good recovery.

Administering medications to prevent diarrhea at home is not indicated, since this type of medication can damage the animal's intestinal motility and worsen its condition, making it an episode that can be fatal. Because it is a symptom that can have a slow improvement, it is the type of problem that makes the pet's stay in hospital even more fundamental, since this animal must be monitored, hydrated and medicated 24 hours a day.


Video: Dr. Becker Discusses Pet Diarrhea


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