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Home Care for the Dog with Diarrhea

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

Diarrhea in Dogs

Diarrhea is a common problem seen in veterinary clinics. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons people take their dog to the vet.

What Is Diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the act of having abnormally loose or liquid stools. This can also be associated with an increased frequency of bowel movements. Some dogs will have a large amount of liquid or abnormally loose stools once and others will have semi-formed stools frequently with straining.

What Causes Diarrhea?

Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and it is an important sign of intestinal disease in dogs.

Diarrhea can be a symptom of many different conditions. It can be caused a number of problems including:

  A change in the dog's food

  Eating garbage or food that does not agree with their system

  Eating indigestible objects

  Infectious agents including bacterial, viral or parasites

  Systemic problems such as pancreatitis, kidney disease or liver disease

It can affect your dog by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.
For a full list of possible causes - go to
Acute Diarrhea in Dogs. Pet owners commonly ask, "What can I do at home?"

Home Treatment of Diarrhea

Specific treatments of diarrhea are dependent on the cause. Here is the general approach to dealing with a dog with acute diarrhea:

  If your pet has diarrhea once then has a normal bowel movement without further diarrhea or has a normal bowel movement and is acting playful, then the problem may resolve on its own.

  If you can identify it, always eliminate any predisposing cause such as exposure to trash, abrupt change in diet and eating plants.

If your dog has diarrhea and vomiting (gastroenteritis), we recommend that you see your veterinarian - don't attempt home care.

  If diarrhea occurs several times and you cannot take your dog to your veterinarian (which is recommended), then you may try the following:

- Administer only prescribed medications by your veterinarian.

- Stop feeding your dog for the first 12 to 24 hours.

- If there is no vomiting, provide plenty of fresh clean water or oral rehydrating solutions to help prevent dehydration.

- Temporarily change the diet to something bland. Bland diets can be made at home or prescription type diets can be obtained from your veterinarian. A bland digestible diet such as: Hill's prescription diet i/d, Iams Recovery Diet, Provision EN or Waltham Low Fat is usually recommended. You can make a homemade diet of boiled rice or potatoes (as the carbohydrate source) and lean hamburger, skinless chicken or low-fat cottage cheese (as the protein source). Feed small amounts at a time. Don't over feed as it may induce vomiting. Feed a meatball size portion and if there is no vomiting for a full hour, offer a small amount more. Give small amounts frequently - every 3 to 4 hours for the first day. You can gradually increase the amount and decrease the frequency as your dog tolerates.

- Feed a bland diet for 2 days.

- Then gradually return to regular dog food over the next day or two. At first, mix in a little of your dog's food into the bland diet. Feed that for one meal. Then feed a 50/50 mix for one meal. Then feed ¾ dog food and ¼ bland diet for a meal. Then feed your dog's regular food.

- Leash-walk your pet to allow observation of bowel movements while watching for normal urinations and any vomiting that may occur otherwise without you knowing.

- Observe your dog's general activity and appetite. Watch closely for the presence of blood in the stool, worsening of signs or the onset of vomiting.

- Have your pet examined by your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

- Some veterinarians recommend Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (for dogs only!) ® The active ingredients are generally subsalicylate and Bismuth. Two tablespoons of Pepto-Bismol contain almost as much salicylate as one aspirin tablet (which is toxic to cats). Do NOT give cats Pepto-bismol or Kaopectate! The subsalicylate, an aspirin-like compound, can decrease diarrhea caused by intestinal infections. The bismuth agent is a chalk-like compound designed to coat the lining of the stomach and intestines. This helps some pets with diarrhea. The typical dose administered to dogs amounts to approximately two teaspoons (10 ml total) per 10 pounds per day, ideally split between two to four doses. This be found at most pharmacies and does not require a prescription. It is often used for one to two days. DO NOT USE IN CATS.

- Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian. Please do not administer to cats without first consulting with a veterinarian to avoid toxicity.

- This is important! If the diarrhea continues at any time or the onset of other symptoms are noted, call your veterinarian promptly. If your pet is not eating, starts vomiting, acts lethargic, has continued diarrhea or any other physical abnormalities mentioned above, it is important to see your veterinarian. Your pet needs the professional care your veterinarian can provide. If your pet is having the clinical signs mentioned above, expect your veterinarian to perform some diagnostic tests and make treatment recommendations. Recommendations will be dependent upon the severity and nature of the clinical signs.

When Is Diarrhea an Emergency?

If the diarrhea continues after your pet eats or if your pet acts lethargic, doesn't want to eat and/or starts vomiting, then medical attention is warranted. Please see your veterinarian!

Great Links for More Information

For more details about diarrhea, go to
Acute Diarrhea in Dogs, and Chronic Diarrhea in Dogs (duration longer than 1 or 2 weeks)".

Related topics - go to
Vomiting in Dogs, Vomiting and Diarrhea in Dogs and Dehydration in Dogs.

Disclaimer: Advice given in the Home Care series of articles is not meant to replace veterinary care. When your pet has a problem, it is always best to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. But in some cases, it is not always possible to seek veterinary care. You could be traveling, it could be after hours and there are no 24-hour clinics near you, or maybe you simply can't afford it. Whatever the reason, when your pet has a problem, you need answers. Most vets will not give you any information over the phone - they will tell you to bring your pet in for an office visit. So, when these difficult situations arise, many pet owners don't know what to do - and they end up doing the wrong thing because they don't have sound veterinary advice. When your pet has a problem and you can't see your vet, the information in this series of articles can help guide you so that you will not inadvertently cause harm to your pet. However, this information is not a replacement for veterinary care.

Legal Disclaimer

If your pet is showing any signs of distress or you suspect your pet is seriously ill, CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN immediately.

Acute Diarrhea in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman


Acute diarrhea is a common clinical problem in veterinary practice. It is characterized by a sudden onset and short duration (three weeks or less) of watery or watery-mucoid diarrhea. Occasionally the fecal material is also overtly bloody.

Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and is an important sign of intestinal diseases in the dog. Diarrhea can affect your dog by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to
dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.

General Causes

?h  Dietary indiscretion (eating inappropriate food/material)

?h  Infectious agents - bacterial, viral, fungal, protozoal, parasitic infections

?h  Drugs and toxins

?h  Intussusception (telescoping of the bowel on itself)

?h  Intolerance of materials in the normal diet

?h  Intestinal obstruction

?h  Metabolic disorders, such as liver and kidney disease

?h  Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

What to Watch For

?h  Passage of loose, watery stools that persist for more than one day

?h  A change in the color of the stool

?h  The appearance of blood in the stool

?h  Decreased appetite

?h  Vomiting

?h  Depression, lethargy

?h  Fever

Acute diarrhea is often alarming, but may not be an emergency if your dog is still active, drinking and eating, and is not vomiting. However, acute diarrhea associated with vomiting, lack of water intake, fever, depression, or other
symptoms should prompt a visit to your veterinarian.




Although most cases of acute diarrhea are short-lived and self-limiting, there are some cases that require diagnostic testing to confirm an underlying cause. Such tests include:

?h  Complete history and physical examination

?h  Fecal studies - flotation, smear, and zinc sulfate for Giardia

?h  Complete blood count (CBC)

?h  Biochemical profile

?h  Urinalysis

?h  Abdominal radiographs (x-rays)


Diarrhea is a symptom that can be caused by many different diseases or conditions. Specific treatment requires a diagnosis. The diagnostic tests described previously may reveal a diagnosis, however, in the interim symptomatic therapy may be helpful to reduce the severity of signs and offer relief to your pet:

?h  Placing the intestinal tract in a state of physiologic rest by withholding food for 12 ”V 24 hours

?h  Subsequent change to a bland, easily digestible diet

?h  Fluid therapy

?h  Antibiotic therapy

?h  Intestinal protectants and adsorbents

If Your Dog Has Diarrhea

?h  Administer only prescribed medications.

?h  Provide fresh water or oral rehydrating solutions to help prevent dehydration.

?h  Temporarily change the diet to something bland. Bland diets can be made at home or prescription type diets can be obtained from your veterinarian.

?h  Observe your dog's general activity and appetite, watch closely for the presence of blood in the stool, worsening of signs, or the onset of vomiting.

?h  Have your pet examined by your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.



Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and is an important sign of intestinal diseases in the dog. Diarrhea can affect your dog by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.

Acute diarrhea associated with
vomiting, lack of water intake, fever, depression, or other symptoms should prompt a visit to your veterinarian.


Many disorders and diseases can lead to acute diarrhea. These include:

?h  Dietary indiscretion can include the eating spoiled food, overeating, the ingestion of foreign material, and/or sudden changes in the diet. Acute diarrhea may also follow ingestion of a food that contains substances that are poorly tolerated by the gastrointestinal tract.

?h  Intestinal parasites (e.g. roundworms, hookworms, whipworms) are a common cause of acute diarrhea, especially in young dogs. These parasites are not seen grossly in the feces, but their eggs may be discovered on fecal floatation tests.

?h  Bacteria and bacterial toxins (Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Yersinia, etc. ) may cause acute diarrhea and may be contracted from contaminated food and water, or exposure to the fecal material of other infected animals.

?h  Viral infections such as parvovirus, coronavirus, rotavirus, distemper virus, and adenovirus may all induce acute diarrhea.

?h  Protozoal infections with coccidia, Giardia, Entamoeba, trichomonads, etc. may also be a cause.

?h  Fungal and algal infections (e.g. histoplasmosis, protothecosis, phythiosis, etc.) are more likely to cause chronic diarrhea than acute diarrhea, but occasionally acute diarrhea may occur.

?h  Drugs and toxins cause acute diarrhea by either directly irritating the lining of the intestinal tract, or by disturbing the normal population of bacteria. Examples include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, corticosteroids, antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, and certain heart drugs (digoxin).

Offending toxins include insecticides, lawn and garden products, and heavy metals.

?h  Dietary intolerance may result in acute diarrhea when the animal is exposed to something in the diet that the intestines react to, such as certain proteins, lactose, high fat content, and certain food additives.

?h  Many metabolic diseases (kidney and liver diseases) produce clinical signs of gastrointestinal disease, including diarrhea. Diarrhea may be bloody and is often accompanied by multiple systemic signs in these cases.

?h  Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, may also cause diarrhea.

?h  Obstructions of the intestines usually present with vomiting, but acute diarrhea may also be noted.

?h  Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a disease of uncertain origin in dogs. Affected dogs often have a sudden onset of bloody diarrhea.

?h  Intussusception, which is the telescoping of the bowel on itself, may arise with bouts of acute diarrhea, and be present when the dog is examined.

?h  Tumors of the intestinal tract or other abdominal organs may induce diarrhea. Although the diarrhea may begin acutely, it does not usually resolve on its own.


Veterinary Care In-depth


Although most cases of acute diarrhea are short-lived and self-limiting, there are some cases that require diagnostic testing to confirm an underlying cause. Such
tests include:

?h  A complete history and physical examination

?h  Fecal studies (flotation, smear, and zinc sulfate for Giardia) to test for intestinal parasitism. It is not uncommon to run multiple fecal exams, as some parasites are difficult to diagnose.

?h  A complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate for infection, inflammation, anemia and dehydration.

?h  A biochemical profile to help evaluate kidney and [[AWT3385|liver function, and electrolyte status]].

?h  A urinalysis to evaluate kidney function and the hydration status of the animal.

?h  Abdominal radiographs (x-rays) to evaluate the abdominal organs, and to check for the presence of fluid, gas or foreign bodies within the intestines.

Depending upon the clinical signs and results of the above tests, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to ensure optimal medical care. These ancillary tests are selected on a case-by-case basis:

?h  Parvovirus test on the feces

?h  Bacterial cultures of the feces

?h  Fecal cytology to identify the type of inflammation present and to search for parasites, protozoa and bacteria

?h  Serologic tests for infectious diseases

?h  Laboratory tests for pancreatitis

?h  Abdominal ultrasonography, especially if the previous diagnostics tests have been inconclusive

?h  An upper gastrointestinal (GI) barium series to search for intestinal ulcers, masses, obstructions, intussusceptions and foreign bodies

?h  Endoscopy or colonoscopy to evaluate a portion of the small intestine or colon with a viewing scope, especially if acute diarrhea progresses to chronic diarrhea

?h  Specialized assays for toxins that can cause diarrhea.


Veterinary Care In-depth

Treatment In-depth

Diarrhea is a
symptom that can be caused by many different diseases or conditions, and specific treatment requires a diagnosis. Symptomatic therapy may be tried in mild cases of short duration, or may be instituted while diagnostic testing is underway. These treatments may reduce the severity of signs and offer relief to your pet:

?h  Withholding food and placing the intestinal tract in a state of physiologic rest is an important aspect of therapy for acute diarrhea. Completely restricting food intake for 12- 24 hours allows the intestinal tract lining to start to heal.

?h  Food is then gradually reintroduced, starting with a bland, easily digestible, low-fat diet. Initially small amounts of this food are given as frequent meals. Examples of such a bland diet include boiled chicken or beef, mixed with low-fat cottage cheese, boiled rice or potato. Prescription diets that may be administered for acute diarrhea include Hill's Canine i/d, w/d, or d/d, Eukanuba Low Residue, and others. The bland diet is fed for several days, and then the original diet may be gradually reintroduced over a 2- to 3-day period.

?h  Fluid therapy may be necessary in some patients with acute diarrhea to correct dehydration and acid-base derangements, to replace electrolytes that are deficient, and to provide for ongoing losses.

?h  Antibiotic therapy for acute diarrhea is not required in most cases; however, it may be of benefit in animals that have hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, diarrhea containing fresh blood, or if a bacterial infection is suspected.

?h  Empirical deworming is often recommended even if the stool sample is negative for intestinal parasites, because parasites do not always show up in the fecal examination.

?h  Intestinal protectants and adsorbents (medications that coat, soothe and protect the lining of the intestines) may also be helpful.

?h  If your dog does not respond to conventional therapy within 48 hours, if fresh blood is seen in the diarrhea, if the animal is vomiting or showing other signs of systemic illness, then a veterinary examination is warranted.



The best treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. For optimal follow-up success in the treatment of your pet, please do the following:

?h  Precisely administer prescribed medications and follow any dietary recommendations. Contact your veterinarian if you are having difficulty treating your dog.

?h  Watch your dog for worsening of the disease. Signs of worsening may include the onset of bloody diarrhea, persistence of signs for more than two days, or any signs to suggest a systemic illness (vomiting, weakness, anorexia, collapse).

?h  If the signs resolve in a couple of days, no additional veterinary evaluation may be necessary.

?h  Once the diarrhea has resolved, keep your dog on a consistent, balanced diet and restrict access to garbage and other things that can cause diarrhea.

?h  Have your dog's stool checked at least yearly for intestinal parasites. Consider year round administration of heartworm preventative drugs that also prevent intestinal parasites.

?h  The prognosis for cure of self-limiting diarrhea is excellent. Affected animals are often successfully managed with dietary restriction, replacement of fluid deficits, and correction of the underlying cause.

?h  If your dog's diarrhea has failed to respond to the management outlined, it may require more extensive diagnostics. You should have your dog reevaluated by your veterinarian.

Dehydration in Dogs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians


Dehydration occurs when the total body water is less than normal. Usually it involves loss of both water and electrolytes, which are minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium. During illness, dehydration may be caused by an inadequate fluid intake. Fever increases the loss of water.

When there is not enough body water, fluid shifts out of the body cells to compensate, leaving the cells deficient in necessary water. This leads to dehydration. The severity of the dehydration is based on the magnitude of these body water shifts.

Dehydration is caused by either a lack of food or water intake or an increase in water loss through illness or injury.

What to Watch For

Signs of dehydration include:

?h  Loss of skin elasticity

?h  Lethargy

?h  Depression

?h  Sunken eyes

?h  Dry gums

?h  Increased heart rate

?h  Slow capillary refill time


Physical examination findings can help determine if dehydration is present. A common but inaccurate way to diagnose dehydration is based on skin elasticity. When the skin along the back is gently lifted, it should immediately return to the normal position. In a dehydrated animal, the skin does not return to normal quickly. The speed of return to normal position can help determine the severity of the dehydration.

Blood tests such as a complete blood count and biochemistry profile are important to try to find the underlying cause of the dehydration but may not reveal if dehydration is present.

The most important tests are a packed cell volume and total blood protein test. These tests are done on a blood sample and can help reveal if dehydration is present.

If the packed cell volume and total protein are elevated, dehydration is present.

Determining the concentration of the urine can also help determine if the pet is dehydrated and if the kidneys are affected.


The treatment for dehydration is to supplement the body with fluids. It is often not possible for an ill pet to ingest sufficient water to correct dehydration. Fluids are typically administered as an injection. The most efficient method of rehydration is through intravenous fluids. This requires hospitalization as well as an intravenous catheter.

Fluid replacement is done slowly to allow the body to compensate and slowly replenish tissues starved of fluid.

Home Care and Prevention

There is no home care for dehydration. If you suspect that your pet is dehydrated, prompt veterinary care is recommended.

Some animals can be treated with subcutaneous fluids at home, after an initial diagnosis and treatment. Ask your veterinarian if this is an option and have him/her show you how to administer injectable fluids at home.

Make sure your dog eats and drinks normally. The best way to prevent dehydration is to have your pet examined and treated early if an illness occurs. For sick pets, preventing dehydration may be difficult but if promptly treated, can result in recovery.

Information In-depth

Dehydration can be caused by numerous illnesses or abnormalities and can be divided into two main categories: reduced fluid intake or increased fluid losses.

Reduced Fluid Intake

The body relies on a steady intake of fluid to maintain hydration. When the ingestion does not meet the body demands, dehydration occurs. If your pet is not eating or drinking adequately because of disease or illness, dehydration is likely to occur. Reduced fluid intake can also occur if there is either accidental or deliberate deprivation of food or water. If you leave your pet unattended for several days and he spills his water bowl, he may be without water for several days.

Increased Fluid Losses

In some diseases or illnesses, your pet may be able to consume enough fluid to meet body demands. The most common cause of this is vomiting and diarrhea or kidney disease. With vomiting and diarrhea, excess fluids are lost. In kidney disease, the kidneys are unable to conserve fluids and they excrete excess fluid in the urine. Other causes of increased fluid losses include excessive panting, fever, large wounds or burns that ooze fluid or severe prolonged drooling.

Veterinary Care In-depth

How To Detect Dehydration

There is no single test that can accurately determine the presence or severity of dehydration. The diagnosis is generally based on history, physical examination findings and laboratory tests.

The recent history is very important and can determine if dehydration is possible and may help determine the underlying cause. Be prepared to answer questions about:

?h  Your pet's eating and drinking habits

?h  The presence of vomiting or diarrhea

?h  Whether your pet is urinating more frequently

?h  The presence of excessive drooling

?h  How long the signs have been present

The severity of dehydration is listed as a percentage. This percentage indicates the amount of fluid the body is lacking. The maximum amount of dehydration that can be present in a live animal is 15 percent. Any dehydration beyond that is incompatible with life.

Care must be taken on interpreting these results in obese or very thin patients. In obese pets, underestimating the severity of dehydration can occur easily because the skin returns to normal due to excessive skin fat. In emaciated or extremely thin pets, the skin is not as elastic as a normal pet so the degree of dehydration can be overestimated.

If the pet is less than 5 percent dehydrated, the skin will immediately return to normal. This mild dehydration is rarely detected on physical examination. Pets that are 5 percent dehydrated have a subtle loss of skin elasticity. The skin will return to normal but does so a little slower than a normal pet.

Pets with 6 to 9 percent dehydration have a noticeable delay in the skin returning to normal. The eyes may also appear sunken and the gums dry.

Pets with 10 to 12 percent dehydration have skin that does not return to normal position. It will stay in the tented position until it is physically returned to the normal position. The eyes are significantly sunken, the heart rate is elevated and the pulses are weak.

Pets with 12 to 15 percent dehydration are in a life threatening situation. The pet is typically collapsed, severely depressed and in shock. Death is imminent if aggressive and immediate treatment is not provided.

In addition to physical exam findings, lab tests are needed to determine the presence and severity of dehydration.

?h  A packed cell volume (PCV) and total protein test are the most important tests. The packed cell volume is the percentage of red blood cells currently in circulation. Normal PCV ranges from 35 to 50 percent. In dehydration, the fluid in the blood is inadequate and the blood becomes more concentrated. This results in an increase in the PCV.

?h  The total protein is the amount of large protein molecules in the blood. As with red blood cells, in dehydration, the concentration of the protein increases due to a lack of fluid. In a dehydrated animal, both the PCV and total protein are elevated.

?h  A urinalysis can also help reveal dehydration and may even help determine an underlying cause. In dehydration, the concentration of the urine is higher than normal. If a known dehydrated animal has dilute urine, kidney disease is the suspected underlying cause of the dehydration.

?h  Complete blood counts and biochemistry profiles can help determine the overall health of the animal as well as determine possible underlying causes for dehydration. Unfortunately, these blood tests do not always diagnose dehydration and can be normal even in a severely dehydrated animal.


The treatment for dehydration is to rehydrate with fluids. Since the animal is unable to meet the fluid demands by consuming sufficient food or water, injectable fluids are used. The fluids may be given subcutaneously or intravenously. Intravenous (IV) fluids are preferred since the rehydration is hastened and can be more appropriately monitored.

Once your pet is diagnosed with dehydration, the amount of fluid needed must be determined. The volume of fluid that needs to be replaced is based on the percentage of dehydration and the animal's body weight. A rough calculation can be made based on one of the following formulas:

?h  The number of liters of fluid required is equal to percentage of dehydration multiplied body weight in kilograms.

?h  The number of milliliters of fluid required is equal to 500 multiplied by the percentage of dehydration multiplied by the body weight in pounds.

In addition to rehydrating, fluids are also needed to maintain hydration and meet ongoing fluid needs if the underlying cause of the dehydration has either not been found or has not been treated.

There are multiple different types of injectable fluids. The type of fluid used in based on the concentrations of sodium, chloride and potassium as well as any other patient needs.


After rehydration, the underlying cause of the dehydration must be addressed. Additional testing as well as examinations may be required to find the underlying cause.

Make sure your pet eats and drinks normally. If dehydration is suspected, prompt veterinary assistance is essential to prevent further dehydration.

Your Dog's Medicine Cabinet

By: Dr. Amy Wolff

For Minor Illnesses

Most of us keep a variety of medicines at home for those occasions when we are sick or injured, but did you know there are some important medicines to keep on hand if your dog is not well? Here are some of the commonly used items you should have on hand in your dog's medicine chest. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before giving any medicines to your dog.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide should be in every dog's medicine cabinet. Although most commonly thought of as a way to clean a wound, another important use is to induce vomiting when your dog has ingested toxins, foreign objects, drugs or spoiled food. However, check with your veterinarian first because there are times when it is best not to induce vomiting. Dogs won't drink peroxide willingly so buy an oral dose syringe or keep a turkey baster on hand to help administer the liquid. Also check the expiration date; expired peroxide is not as effective.


Benadryl® (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that is commonly used for itching and allergic reactions. Dogs that have had a bee sting, insect bite or vaccination reaction often need a dose of Benadryl® to calm itchiness, facial swelling or hives. The dose is based on your dog's weight, so check with your veterinarian; he or she can tell you how much Benadryl® you can give and how often.


Every dog owner knows about vomiting, diarrhea and gas. Sometimes a dose of Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate can solve a mild case of stomach or intestinal upset. However, Pepto-Bismol contains salicylates, the active ingredient in aspirin, so dogs that are aspirin sensitive should be given Kaopectate. Any vomiting or diarrhea that persists for more than 24 hours needs your veterinarian's attention. Be sure to mention if you have given any Pepto-Bismol to your dog; the tablet form of Pepto-Bismol looks just like a quarter on X-rays.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Topical antibacterial ointment is great for superficial wounds, such as cuts and scratches. It works best when the wound is located where the dog can't lick it since most dogs will lick off any salve you apply. It is not a good treatment for deep wounds, especially if they are dirty or bleeding, or the result of a bite. These need veterinary attention.


Isopropyl alcohol is often a good drying agent for ears. Many dogs that have recurring ear infections can use a solution of alcohol mixed with vinegar to dry up a wet ear. Alcohol should never be used in an ear that is inflamed or infected, or on a wound, as it burns when applied to damaged tissues. It can also be used in cases where your dog is overheated. Heat stroke is a life threatening situation that requires immediate veterinary attention, but alcohol applied to the pad of your dog's feet can provide some cooling while you are getting your pet to the vet.

Bandages and Tape

It can be challenging to bandage a bleeding wound on your pet. Most often an old sock and electrical tape are cleverly used as bandages when an emergency arises. Keep a pack of clean or sterile gauze and some medical tape handy. Most bleeding wounds require pressure and tape will help keep the gauze in place.

Oral Dose Syringe/Pill Gun/Pill Splitter

Your veterinarian can supply you with a handy little item called a pill gun. It is a long plastic tube with a plunger used to deliver pills to our less cooperative friends. Some dogs just aren't fooled by that little meatball with the pill in the middle. The pill gun keeps you from having to stick your hand/fingers into your dog's mouth when medicating him. An oral dose syringe will help you give liquid medications accurately. A pill splitter will help you cut large tablets into equal portions if your pet requires a smaller dose.

Having these medications on hand is only half the job. Calling your pet's doctor for proper instructions and potential side effects is the other. Never give your pet any medicine prescribed for people unless instructed by your veterinarian.

Legal Disclaimer

If your pet is showing any signs of distress or you suspect your pet is seriously ill, CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN immediately

What Is Albon Medication for Dogs Used For?

By Adi Ferrara, eHow Contributor

Albon treats infections in dogs.

Albon (generic name: sulfadimethoxine) for dogs is an antibiotic medication used to treat bacterial infections in dogs. It is also used to treat a coccidiosis, a serious parasitic infection in dogs. Albon for dogs is available in a tablet or liquid form. It is also available as an injection. The use of Albon requires a prescription from a veterinarian. In tablet or liquid form, Albon is usually given once every 24 hours. The first dose your dog takes may be larger than the following doses.

What Can Albon Treat?

o    Albon is approved for the treatment of infections caused by organisms that include staphylococcus, escherichia and salmonella. Among the infections it treats are respiratory infections including tonsillitis, bronchitis and pneumonia; skin infections; anal gland infections; skin wounds; urinary tract infections; and infections in the uterus. Your vet may recommend this medication for other infections not listed here. Your vet may also switch your dog from another medication to Albon if your dog's infection isn't getting better.

Who Should Not Use Albon

o    Remember that Albon is not for human use--it is only an animal medication. If your dog is allergic to sulfonamide antibiotics ("sulfa drugs"), he should not be treated with Albon. Signs of allergy can include trouble breathing and skin rash.

If your dog is pregnant or nursing, she should not get Albon, nor should her puppies if they are younger than 7 weeks of age. Also, if your dog has kidney or liver disease, the vet will probably prescribe a different medicine. If your dog has medical conditions and is taking certain medication, she should not get Albon. These medications include phenytoin (an anti-seizure drug), warfarin (a blood thinner), aspirin and methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug). Make sure your vet knows of all the medications and supplements your dog takes. Even herbal supplements can interact with prescription drugs.

Possible Side Effects

o    Possible side effects from Albon include fever, skin rash, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, joint pain and dry eye may also occur. Call your vet if any of these side effects develop. Also call your vet if your dog develops any new symptoms that are not listed above while taking this medicine. It is sometimes difficult to determine if these new symptoms are side effects from the medication or not. It is best to call your vet when in doubt.

Other Considerations

o    Albon, like all antibiotics, is not effective against viral infections. However, to be effective against bacteria, you should make sure to finish the entire treatment (unless told otherwise by a vet). Even if your dog seems to be completely healthy, some resistant bacteria may still be infecting your dog. If you stop the treatment too early, the infection could worsen or the cured infection can recur. During treatment, make sure your dog drinks plenty of water to avoid formation of crystals in the kidneys.

Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo)

By: Dr. Debra Primovic


Parvovirus (Parvoviral Enteritis or "Parvo," for short) is a virus causing severe infection in puppies and dogs. It invades and destroys rapidly growing cells in the intestine, bone marrow and lymphoid tissue resulting in nausea, vomiting and severe hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea. The invasion of the bone marrow cells causes a decrease in the white blood cell count leading to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and sometimes to a shock-like condition called endotoxemia. The disease can vary from mild to fatal if not properly treated.

Parvovirus is extremely contagious to other dogs. Infection is generally attributed to ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces and can occur when a dog smells or licks the ground. Direct contact with another dog is not necessary for infection. Parvovirus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for approximately two weeks after initial ingestion and can live in the environment for years. The virus is species specific and is not contagious to cat or humans.

Dogs at highest risk for infection are unvaccinated puppies or those who have not yet completed their vaccine series. It is most common in dogs less than 8 months old. Especially susceptible breeds include Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, German shepherd, Staffordshire terriers, black Labrador retrievers, and dachshunds. Dogs of all ages can be infected, but puppies and younger dogs are most susceptible. Intact male dogs may also be susceptible for unknown reasons.

Unsanitary and/or overcrowded kennels may increase chance of infection and concurrent infection with parasites, other bacteria or viruses may also increase susceptibility to infection. Proper vaccination of your pet can best prevent the disease.

Parvovirus is an acute and serious disease, not a chronic condition. Virtually all cases need proper diagnosis and hospitalization. If your pet is having active symptoms, it is important to see your veterinarian. Parvovirus can be fatal if not properly treated.


What to Watch For

Clinical signs generally are seen 3 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs may include:



  Loss of appetite (anorexia)


  Diarrhea (often containing foul-smelling blood)


Diagnosis is usually based on clinical signs. Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize parvovirus, and exclude other diseases. Tests may include:

  Complete medical history and physical examination

  Testing the feces for the presence of the virus

  Blood tests and abdominal X-rays to determine the severity of the infection or exclude other causes of the symptoms


Your veterinarian will probably recommend hospitalization. Therapy is dependent upon the severity of the clinical symptoms and is aimed at treating the dehydration, controlling vomiting and diarrhea and preventing secondary infection. If bacterial infection and dehydration can be prevented, clinical signs will usually resolve in 2 to 5 days. Therapy may include:

  Intravenous (IV) fluid therapy, antibiotics and/or other drugs used to replace electrolyte and fluid losses and control nausea and vomiting.

  In very severe cases, referral to a 24-hour critical care center may be recommended.

Home Care

At home, allow your pet to rest and regain his strength. Once vomiting and diarrhea have stopped, encourage water intake. Offer your pet a small amount of water and a bland diet. Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet.

It takes a few days for stools to normalize. Nevertheless, it is important that you pick up feces and keep the environment clean. It is likely that the feces will contain the virus and other dogs may contract the disease.

If your pet is not eating or drinking, is continually tired, vomiting and/or still has diarrhea, call your veterinarian.

Preventative Care

Prevention is possible by vaccinating your pet regularly to help prevent infection. (NOTE: Immunity to parvovirus develops after infection, but it is necessary to schedule booster immunizations ("shots") with your veterinarian to protect from other viruses).

Keep your dog away from fecal waste of other dogs when walking along neighborhood streets or parks. If your dog leaves his own "deposit" be sure to remove it and dispose of it at home.

You should also minimize contact of unvaccinated puppies with other dogs that may be sick or unvaccinated. This should include avoiding areas where other sick pets may have been (parvo can live in the environment for 2 years). Your pet is most at risk until fully vaccinated (usually 20 to 24 weeks of age).

Information In-depth

Parvo virus can have symptoms similar to many other diseases. These diseases may include:

  Dietary indiscretion, which is a common cause of vomiting and diarrhea

  Food-borne bacterial infection. Some foods can give dogs gas or diarrhea, a similar symptom to parvovirus.

  Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE), which is an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract causing bloody diarrhea.

  Ileus, a condition in which normal bowel movement is obstructed causing a "functional obstruction" of the intestine

  Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition in which inflamed cells clog the intestinal wall causing chronic vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss; biopsy of affected intestine is required for diagnosis

  Intussusception. This condition is a prolapse or "telescoping" of one portion of the intestinal tract into another, causing partial or complete obstruction of the bowel, a symptom which can also be a complication of parvovirus; X-rays or an ultrasound may be necessary for diagnosis

  Mechanical obstruction or foreign body, which may be an object ingested by your pet that is stuck in a part of the intestine like a toy, bone or piece of clothing

  Other viral infections of the intestines, such as coronavirus and other viruses with similar (though not as serious) symptoms of parvovirus

  Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which is the digestive gland located between the liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach and duodenum

  Parasites, like intestinal worms that feed on an animal host (some also cause bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, weight loss and lethargy) causing similar symptoms of parvovirus

Veterinary Care In-depth

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize parvovirus, and exclude other diseases, including:

  Complete medical history and physical examination

  The ELISA test (CITE-Parvo TEST) The collection and testing of a stool sample is the most practical and thorough method for diagnosis. However, it is possible to get a [false] positive test 5 to 17 days after routine vaccination for parvovirus.

  A complete blood count (CBC). This helps determine the effect of the virus on the bone marrow. In some cases the ELISA test may be negative while the blood test may point to parvovirus (usually a very low white blood count is found). In this case, your veterinarian will choose the appropriate antibiotic therapy.

  Serum biochemistry. These tests are not specific for detection of parvovirus, but they do help your veterinarian determine your pet's hydration status, blood sugar level, kidney function and electrolyte levels. These can help determine the choice of fluid therapy and other medications.

  Fecal tests. These are performed to exclude the possibility of intestinal parasite infestation (concurrent infection is common).

Additional diagnostic tests may be recommended on an individual pet basis, including:

  Abdominal X-rays to exclude the possibility of other problems such as gastrointestinal ileus (paralysis of the bowel), obstruction of the bowel, a foreign substance in the stomach or intestine or an intussusception

  A barium contrast study, in which the patient swallows or is administered barium

  An ultrasound, which is an alternate and noninvasive method, may be used to examine your pet's abdominal organs. An ultrasound is not useful in cases where there is build up of abdominal gas.

Veterinary Care In-depth

Treatment In-depth

Treatments for parvovirus may include one or more of the following:

  Serious cases require hospitalization during which IV fluid therapy, antibiotics and anti-vomiting drugs may be administered. Severe cases may require referral to a 24-hour hospital.

  Milder cases may require outpatient treatment consisting of subcutaneous fluid therapy, antibiotics and anti-vomiting drugs.

  Daily physical examination by your veterinarian to assess your pet's progress is vital.

  Fluid therapy is necessary if your pet is dehydrated, actively vomiting or has diarrhea. Severe cases will most likely require IV fluid therapy consisting of an electrolyte solution supplemented with potassium. If necessary, a bicarbonate supplementation may be required, which is determined after lab testing. In more severe cases where pets have become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), dextrose (sugar) may be added to the fluid therapy. Milder cases may be treated with subcutaneous fluid therapy, which is administered in the loose skin over the back and more slowly absorbed. Pets with severe cases will almost always require IV therapy for survival.

  Nutrition. There are different thoughts on feeding dogs with parvovirus. Many veterinarians recommend giving no food or water until vomiting or diarrhea has stopped completely for 12 to 24 hours. Only then will water be offered in small amounts along with small frequent feedings of a bland diet, including such foods as Hill's Prescription Diet i/d®, Iams Recovery Diet®, Purina EN Diet® or Waltham Low Fat Diet®. Your pet may also be given a bland homemade meal of carbohydrates (boiled rice or potatoes) and protein (lean hamburger, skinless chicken or low-fat cottage cheese) in small amounts. The return to regular dog food must be gradual over a 3 to 4 day period. Other veterinarians recommend feeding despite vomiting. High-protein and high calorie foods such as Hills Science Diet A/D or Eukanuba Max Calorie may be offered as soon as possible.

  Antibiotic therapy is often used to control secondary bacterial infection. Antibiotics (such as gentamicin or amikacin) must only be given after dehydration is corrected with the proper fluid therapy. Commonly used antibiotics are: cefazolin or ampicillin combined with enrofloxacin, gentamicin or amikacin. Gentamicin and amikacin are administered to your pet especially when there is indication of a very low white blood cell count (neutropenia).

  Antiemetic drugs may be administered to your pet to control vomiting. Common drugs include: metoclopramide (Reglan®) given SQ or as continuous IV; chlorpromazine (Thorazine®); prochlorperazine (Compazine®), or ondansetron (Zofran®) by injection.

  Gastrointestinal protectants are sometimes prescribed. Common drugs include: famotidine (Pepcid®), cimetidine (Tagament®) and sucralfate (Carafate®), prescribed only after vomiting is controlled.

  Parenteral nutrition (such as PPN) may be suggested in very weak puppies with persistent vomiting and diarrhea. This is a special food that is placed in an IV type catheter; parenteral nutrition requires hospitalization.

  Anti-diarrheal drugs, which help reduce bowel movements, are only prescribed for unresponsive diarrhea. These include: loperamide, oral opiods and diphenoxylate.

  Pepto-Bismol® (Bismuth subsalicylate) is sometimes administered when vomiting has stopped.

  Pain medications may also be indicated. Commonly used pain medications include Buprenorphine (Bupernex) and Butorphanol (Torbugesic).

  Blood products (packed red blood cells or plasma) may be administered with severe blood loss, protein loss, or anemia.

  Isolating your dog from other dogs is very important throughout treatment of parvovirus.

  Nursing and caring for your pet is vital throughout treatment. Your pet must be kept clean and dry, and debilitated dogs must be turned frequently. Rectal temperature must be monitored frequently.

  Worm infestation is treated once your pet is able to eat and drink. The common drug administered is fenbendazole (Panacur®), given orally for three consecutive days or Ivermectin by injection.


  Approximately 80 to 90 percent of affected dogs will survive and lead normal lives if disease is detected early and proper treatment and hospitalization is sought and administered. Prognosis is worse for high-risk breeds.


Following recovery from parvo, allow your pet to rest and regain his strength. Feces should be picked up and kept from other dogs, because it most likely contains the virus. The virus is extremely resistant to many disinfectants. The recommendation for cleaning areas possibly contaminated with parvovirus include diluted bleach (diluted to 1 part bleach to 20 parts water) and quaternary ammonium disinfectants (such as Roccal-D, Parvosol, and others).

Once vomiting and diarrhea have stopped, encourage water intake. Offer your pet a small amount of water and a bland diet. Your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet.

If your pet is not eating or drinking, is continually tired, vomiting and/or still has diarrhea, call your veterinarian. It takes a few days for stools to normalize.


DOGGIE DAYCARE by Dr. Sam Harkey

    Several years ago the movie "Daddy Daycare" came out starring Eddie Murphy as a dad who is doing his best to deal with the loss of his job by starting a daycare while his wife went to work each day. Eddie went through some serious stressful situations as he learned how to care for a bunch of youngsters.   With several kids of my own, I know how stressful kids can be to us, but have you ever thought about the stresses that kids go through?   Thinking about this, it reminded me of what puppies experience during the process of getting a new home.  If you have children, you probably remember when they first started daycare or school.  Mom's cry, dad's worry and everyone is stressed out including the child who is learning what to do without mom and dad around.   It doesn't take long until the child ends up with a cold or other kind of illness and has to miss a day or so of school/daycare.  When a puppy goes to its new home, it too suffers from very similar stresses.  It was recently weaned from its mother, typically has to take a trip to its new home, either by vehicle or airplane, and then typically gets greeted with a house full of anxious new pet owners and often children who want to stay up late and play with the new puppy.  Can you see how this is STRESSFUL!!!  There are some tools to help decrease this stress and eliminate many potential complications.

    Stress can cause a variety of concerns with new puppies.  Many of the reasons behind these stresses make perfect sense if we understand the basic needs of puppies.  Puppies sleep anywhere from 15 - 20 hours a day.   When a puppy is not sleeping, it typically will eat a few bites of food, play for a few minutes and then return to sleep.  When a puppy arrives at its new home, the natural reaction we have is to immediately play with it as long as we can possibly stay awake.  We often try to teach it to sit, fetch, roll over, and speak all in the first night.  Puppies need some down time, especially when they first arrive.  It is best if we can play for several minutes and then let the puppy see where its new bed is and then let the puppy have some down time. 

    There are 3 common problems we see from the stress of the new home. 

The first is the most dangerous, HYPOGLYCEMIA.  Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a life threatening condition and is most frequent in toy/small breed puppies.  Puppies that play and play without stopping to replenish their energy by eating some food are at the greatest risk of developing this condition.   The symptoms include: depression, lethargy, staggering when walking (appear drunk) and then worse symptoms develop such as comatose posture, seizures and then death.   This condition can be easily treated by giving the puppy some Dyne (you can purchase this online or at your local feed store).   If you do not have Dyne, then honey or pancake /Karo syrup will work.  If there is no response within 20 minutes, contact your veterinarian immediately.   To try to prevent this condition from ever occurring, I recommend giving your new small breed or toy breed puppy Dyne twice a day as a preventative for the first week in their new home. 

    The second common problem we see is upper respiratory illness.   I commonly refer to this as a "cold".  There are varying infectious agents that can cause this from normal opportunistic bacteria that take advantage of the stressed immune system and set up residence, to kennel cough which can cause disease in even healthy strong immune systems.   Prompt treatment for these "colds" is recommended and your veterinarian can get you the antibiotics you need to resolve this.  Typically, colds only last a week or so, but in some cases may take 2-3 weeks.  If your new pet is not improving within 7 days let your veterinarian know and they may want to try a different medication.  

    The third problem commonly seen in new pets is "stress diarrhea".  Stress diarrhea can be caused by a bacterial overgrowth or by a few protozoa.   Coccidia and Giardia are commonly seen in new pets when they are first examined.  Your veterinarian will take a stool sample and look with a microscope to try to identify these.  Treatment for both these protozoa is very simple and typically requires one week or so of medication to clear the pet of the infection.   Bacterial overgrowth is common in puppies as well as adults.  This condition is commonly called gastritis or colitis.   Switches in dog food, table scraps or getting into the cat's food commonly cause this.  Treatment typically is similar to the treatment of Coccidia and Giardia. 

    New puppies are such a joy to be around!!!   The thrill of a new family member excites everyone and will bring fun for years to come.  Just remember that the new member of the family needs some down time too!!!  Lay some rules down about how long the kids can play with the new pup during the first week or so until the newest addition gets accustomed to its new home and family.  These tips will hopefully make the transition a smooth one for everyone involved!!!


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