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Dog Chronic Diarrhea

by Pat Nicodemus
(Dixon, CA)

My dog Ranger has a long history of episodes of soft stools. He is a 12 1/2 year old neutered male golden lab mix, weighs about 78 lbs and has hip dysplasia and arthritis. He receives Adequan injections and regular acupuncture for those conditions.

About 4 - 5 months ago he began having anal sac problems for which he was put on several courses of antibiotics, the last being Baytril. The sacs seem to be fine but he then had bloody (bright red) diarrhea about 2 weeks ago and was given Flagyl. That seemed to clear things up. He's been off that for 5 days and as of this morning his diarrhea is back. No blood this time - just light brown color (tanish) with mucous.

I've had him on a bland diet of chicken, rice, 2T of pumpkin and probiotic. I started adding his Solid Gold Beef Barley kibble back into his meals about 5 days ago. I will take his stool sample to his vet's this morning for testing.

He was tested for giardia about 6 months ago - negative. He had blood work done last week and all was normal. His vet wants to do an ultrasound on him. I would like to see if the problem can be corrected before the expense of the ultrasound.

He is otherwise alert - wants to go on his walks - likes his meals - drinks normal amounts of distilled water. Does this sound like IBD or would you recommend the ultrasound right away?

Comments for Dog Chronic Diarrhea

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Apr 20, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Yes, it does sound like your dog Ranger has IBD, or Irritable Bowel Disease. From your detailed history, I do not think you need to rush into an ultrasound at this time.

Since you have been treating him with Adequan and dog acupuncture for his arthritis and hip dysplasia, and you wrote that Ranger has a long history of episodes of soft stools, I am curious why he was not treated with acupuncture for the loose stool?

Having the anal sac infection and a long course of many different antibiotics probably 'sterilized' his GI tract and contributed to his bout of Hemorrhagic Gastro-Enteritis. And that was treated with Flagyl, which killed off more beneficial bacteria in his GI Tract! And now he is relapsing with loose stool again.

Trying to look at the whole picture of Ranger, can you remember when he was younger, if the loose stool started after having had a vaccination, or after an episode of being left at a kennel for a weekend? Or perhaps due to a change of diet? Is he a nervous high strung dog, or laid back and mellow?

From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine viewpoint, it is also important to know if he has a pink moist tongue, lavender or mauve color, dry, white coating, etc. And, also, the quality of the femoral pulses, strong and bounding, weak, or deep?

To be continued on Part 2, My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea

Apr 20, 2011
Part 2 My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Here is the continuation:

All of these factors are very important in treating ALL of Ranger, not just his anal glands, or not just his bowel or arthritis (see our page on alternative medicine for dogs.

Here's what I would suggest:

1. Increase the amount of Probiotics to the amount that a human would take.

2. Solid Gold is a good brand of food, but the dry food will be harder to digest. Canned food would be easier on his GI tract. At this time, though, continue the bland diet that you had him on: chicken, rice, 2 Tbsp Pumpkin, and also add in Slippery Elm. It is an herb to help soothe the GI tract and control diarrhea. He would need the dose for a human. Continue this for 2 weeks, then start to add in *canned* Solid Gold dog food.

3. Have the veterinarian treat him for the diarrhea with dry needle acupuncture at GV-1, plus B-12 aqua-puncture at GV-1. And certainly, ST-36, LI-10, etc. and other points for his arthritis/hindquarter weakness.

4. NO MORE VACCINATIONS. Have your veterinarian write an exemption form to 'excuse' him from a Rabies vaccination this year (if he is due). And do not give him any Distemper or Parvo or Bordatella.

5. Boost his immune system with either Chinese herbs such as Wei Qi Booster or Immuplex from Standard Process.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 21, 2011
More Ranger information and a question
by: Pat

Dr. Tillman, your response is what I've been waiting for for a very long time.

We adopted Ranger and his brother at an animal shelter when they were 3 months old. I don't know their history prior to that but I think it was pretty awful. I've had lots of dogs but never dogs with such anxiety issues.

Rowdy died a year ago after a year living with lymphoma. Ranger's stools have been off and on soft right from the beginning. Both dogs were loaded with worms when they came from the shelter.

Ranger has not had rabies or any other vaccinations for several years. We take a rabies titre test every year.

His tongue color is between the pink and the mauve colors. He is extremely sensitive to any changes in his living environment and has dog separation anxiety.

He is a big fellow but he is a house dog because he has chewed through wire fences, eaten wood gates, etc. when he was kept in dog yard. He has a sweet temperament with his human contacts but doesn't do well around other dogs.

Do you have any other thoughts about his treatment given this information?

Apr 21, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
It is not unusual to see anxiety issues and stress manifest in physical problems in both animals and humans. In Ranger's case, he seems to have his GI tract as the 'weak' point in his constitution. He also has bone issues with his arthritis and hip dysplasia.

In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, the mauve or lavender color to the tongue indicates Qi or Blood Stagnation and can be due to pain (arthritis or the hip dysplasia) or conditions such as 'deficiency' from chronic diarrhea.

Acupuncture for dogs is a good technique used to move Qi and remove the stagnation. This relieves the pain and helps the body to heal. Your veterinarian should use the acupuncture to address all of Ranger's issues: the anxiety at An Shen (a point behind the ears), and HT-7 (near the carpus), diarrhea at GV-1, ST-36, LI-10, GV-14. And treat the hips and back with the associated acupuncture points also.

In combination with the acupuncture, you can use the Bach flower essences combining Rescue Remedy with Honeysuckle, Walnut, Aspen and Mimulus. To make up a 'Bach combo' place 10 drops of Rescue Remedy into a 2 oz glass dropper bottle, add 5 drops each of the other remedies, and then fill the bottle with Spring Water. Give Ranger 1/2 dropperful by mouth two times daily for at least 3 weeks, then as needed for anxiety.

There are some Chinese herbs that work well to help with anxiety (Shen Calmer), but in some cases a side effect of loose stool may occur. In Ranger's situation, in may be best to stick to the Bach combo.

I would also suggest studying Dr. Ian Dunbar's separation anxiety information and contacting his office for in-depth questions.

If you feel that your veterinarian is not helping Ranger with the acupuncture, perhaps finding a holistic veterinarian that is knowledgeable in homeopathy may provide the benefit that Ranger needs to heal.

It sounds like you are covering all bases with the annual antibody titers to avoid vaccination, monitoring his blood panels and checking for parasites, and providing a good quality diet.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 23, 2011
Ranger question
by: Pat

Ranger is improving - no more diarrhea but stool not yet as firm as when all things were normal. Fecal and urine sample both came back normal.

His vet did not want to do acupuncture for the GI tract issue because he said if Ranger had cancer that the acupuncture would cause it to spread. He still wants to do the ultrasound.

I want to wait and see how things go for this next week on the bland diet and then a week when canned Solid Gold is added to his meals. We have Wi Chi (sp?) but have not used it yet because I heard that it could cause soft stools.

Is my understanding correct? Do you see any harm in delaying the ultrasound?

Apr 23, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Yes, diarrhea and/or vomiting or nausea are common side effects from Chinese herbs, including Wei Qi Booster. To help Ranger's immune system, you could use western supplements such as the glandular supplements from Standard Process, Immuplex from Standard Process, and another product from Standard Process is Canine Whole Body Support.

Since he may not be absorbing enough nutrients with the loose stool, adding these supplements might help his nutritional status.

Delaying the ultrasound is a good idea. If Ranger is improving, I would doubt that he has anything as serious as cancer.

Regarding your question about cancer and acupuncture, from my training in Chinese Medicine, a worsening of cancer may occur usually for 'surface' tumors. Placing a needle in an alternative acupuncture point is recommended, instead of placing it directly into the tumor.

Acupuncture for diarrhea, even if it is due to a cancerous intestinal tract, would not make the cancer worse. But I will defer to your veterinarian, if your veterinarian feels that Ranger is very weak, that may be the reason to delay acupuncture in an attempt to 'build' up his system with nutrition and supplements, and after that attempt to address his Qi with acupuncture.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 25, 2011
Ranger
by: Pat

Ranger is not having loose stool today. However, there was still some small traces of blood on the stool.

I am cutting his dose of Dyna-Pro from 6 ml 3 times a day to 3 ml 3 times a day. He's still on the bland diet. I'm concerned that he is not getting the vitamins he needs.

It was suggested that I begin to add 2 pieces of kibble to his meals and then 4 and so on. It was also suggested that I add a little canned sweet peas to his diet.

Ranger seems to have more energy in the last 2 days but still not quite up to snuff. He does like to eat, however. Still asking for your input - which I greatly respect.

Apr 26, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Continue the Dyna-Pro at 6 ml two times daily, instead of the lower dose of 3 ml three times daily.

I would NOT add in any kibble/DRY FOOD.

Solid Gold is a good brand of food, but the dry food will be harder to digest. Canned food would be easier on his GI tract. Do they make the same Solid Gold in a canned version? Then add in a small amount to his bland food, over a two week period.

Therefore, continue the bland diet: chicken, rice, 2 Tbsp Pumpkin, and continue to add in Slippery Elm. It is an herb to help soothe the GI tract and control diarrhea. Continue this for 2 weeks. Start to add in *canned* Solid Gold dog food now. Peas or other vegetables, may be adding too much fiber to his diet, and create a relapse in the diarrhea.

A good supplement to aid Ranger's nutrition would be Canine Whole Body Support.

If a blood test indicates that Ranger is becoming anemic from the loss of blood in his stool, he should get a One-A-Day Children's Vitamin/Mineral with Iron (once a day).

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Apr 26, 2011
Ranger
by: Pat

Thank you for your response.

Solid Gold does not make canned beef/barley. It does make canned turkey/fish. He used to have that with the beef kibble years ago. Do you think it would be ok to use the turkey?

I've also added small amount of chicken broth to the rice chicken mix. Is that ok? He loves it.

His blood and urine tests came back normal except for high protein, high globulin and low A/G. What does that suggest to you? How long do you suggest that I keep him at 6 ml of Dyna-Pro?

Apr 26, 2011
My Online Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Regarding the canned form of Solid Gold, you wrote,
Do you think it would be ok to use the turkey?

Yes.

You wrote,
I've also added small amount of chicken broth to the rice chicken mix. Is that ok?

Yes.

As to the high globulins and lower albumin (A/G ratio is the Albumin/Globulin ratio), it indicates that there is a lot of inflammation. Antibodies are composed of globulins, and the body produces more antibodies when there is an inflammatory response. Lower albumin also occurs when there is chronic diarrhea.

I would suggest continuing the Dyna-Pro, 6 ml two times daily for at least another month (as long as he is improving), then decrease to 3 ml two times daily for 6 months, or indefinitely, to make sure his intestinal tract is back to normal, and all of the gut flora is adequate.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


Apr 28, 2011
Ranger
by: Pat

Ranger feels better - more energy. His appetite is good. I cut him back to 6 ml Dyna-Pro twice a day and started adding a small amount of Solid Gold canned food (1 - 2 tablespoons) as of 2 days ago.

Tonight he had one movement with pinpoint traces of blood but formed stool. Later he had very soft stool but no blood. Should I increase the Dyna Pro and stop the canned food for awhile?

How long should it take for his condition to improve - another 2 weeks, a month? Maybe I'm just not being patient enough. I would take him to see you or another holistic vet but you are quite a ways away and I can't locate anyone closer. He's also getting 2 slippery elm a day.
Thank you.

Apr 30, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
It sounds like Ranger has made some progress. I would continue the Dyna-Pro 6ml two times daily, and continue to add in the canned food. Increase the slippery Elm to 2 capsules two times daily.

Since you stated in the beginning that Ranger had a long history of soft stools, and most of this has been over 6 months ago, and then 3 weeks ago he had the bloody diarrhea, I would expect him to be cleared up of the blood in his stool over the next 4-5 days. The soft/loose stool will take a few months.

He may improve a little faster with some homeopathic remedies, or being treated with acupuncture or 'aqua-puncture'. Aqua-puncture is a common technique to provide longer lasting effects, by injecting Vit B-12 into the necessary acupuncture points needed by that patient. I use this in my older patients, especially if I feel they have a problem with absorbing all of the essential vitamins, or if they are anemic, or seem weak. Vit B-12 helps give them a little 'boost' of energy.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

May 09, 2011
Ranger
by: Pat

Ranger is much better. He has more energy - wants to eat - tail held high - no bloody darrhea.

He is, however, still having soft stool and tonight more watery stool. He's been getting the 6 ml of Dyna-Pro twice a day, as you suggested. We stopped the slippery elm yesterday. We've added about a third of a can of Solid Gold turkey and fish 3 times a day with less rice but still boiled chicken.

I know you said that the loose stool would last about 2 more months but wondering if his diet may still be part of the problem. Do you think adding a small amount of Orijen kibble (poultry/fish) would be ok? Should we back off a bit on the canned food?

Would adding a few drops of Runni Poo (Native Remedies) to his food once a day be helpful? Also, he is 6 weeks overdue for Interceptior Heartworm tabs. He was tested for heartworms in Feb - all ok. Is it ok to give him the tabs while this other issue is in the healing stages? Thank you.

May 11, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
I'm glad to hear that Ranger seems to be feeling better, in spite of the chronic diarrhea. As for all of your questions, I have answered them below.

1. Continue the Dyna Pro, at 6 ml two times daily.

2. Heartworm Prevention: Yes, it is ok to start back on the Interceptor. From now on, give the Interceptor at 45 day intervals, not 30 day intervals.

3. Slippery Elm-continue the slippery elm, do not stop it for another month, or even to 6 weeks.

4. Diet: Consider increasing the canned food to 1/2 can Solid Gold Turkey & Fish three times daily
continue adding rice, and continue the boiled chicken. NO kibble, yet.

5. Native Remedies ("Runni Poo"), this is a combination homeopathic plus herbs. I would not recommend that he use this. I practice 'classical' homeopathy, the same as Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. This means the use of only one homeopathy remedy at a time, that 'fits' the symptoms of the patient.

There is a good holistic clinic about 45 minutes from Dixon, in Benicia, California.
Dr. Dale Olm and Dr. Shelby Riddle are very good at both homeopathy and acupuncture.

Southampton Pet Hospital
852 Southampton Rd, Benicia, CA 94510
(707) 745-1135

Or, if you wish to find a different holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

May 23, 2011
Ranger Update/Question
by: Pat

Ranger has been doing much better; however, he will have a couple of good days and then normal stool followed by runny stuff.

As we've added 1/3 - 1/2 a can of Solid Gold turkey/fish his situation seems to return to the runny stuff. The canned food is mixed with rice and chicken and slippery elm has been added to his meals which are given 3 times a day.

While I think he needed to loose some weight (lost 7 pounds over 2 months), I would rather that he not lose any more. Is there another food that would be better for him? Kibble is an absolute no?

This has been going on (with improvement) for 2 months. How much longer is it normal to wait for things to return to normal?

Thanks!

May 24, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Chronic Diarrhea
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Pat,
Ranger will improve faster with some homeopathic remedies. I am unable to 'take his case' over an e-mail consult. This must be done 'in person'.

The Solid Gold Dog food, that he is currently eating, is a good one. Nature's Recipe, Spot's Stew, Primal,and Pet Guard, are also very good. These are foods that contain no preservatives, no artificial colors or additives. I do not want him to lose any more weight, but instead of reverting back to dry food, perhaps if you added in some fresh chicken, turkey, or a little beef to the canned food, would help. (Preferably raw, if he can handle it.)

I can see that with diet change and the supplements, that his body is trying to heal. But, it seems like he needs an extra 'boost' to his vital force that only a homeopathic remedy can provide.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Diarrhea Medicine,
- Dog Constipation Symptoms & Treatment,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Diarrhea, Constipation and/or Digestive Problems Section

Nov 23, 2013
Snooper NEW
by: Ronelle

Dear Dr. Tillman,

Thank you for your e-mail and recommendations. I was easily able to find all the supplements you suggested online and will proceed with ordering these. I wanted to check on the protein's you recommend. Do I need to choose one? or can I alternate these every day, every other day?

Snooper is approximately 85 lbs, so I will attempt to feed 1,200 calories per day? He is taller than most boxers and in good health other than the stomach issues.

I wanted to ask, once I start the diet and supplements you suggested, do I need to discontinue the "Digestive Enzymes Supplement" I am giving him now?

Snooper and Daisy also get doggie milk bones as a snack during the day, which I will obviously discontinue when I start the diet. I have also been making some home made dog biscuits for them recently (in the hopes that it is better for him.) I saw Gina's comment on "Sojos" and not heard of it, "Thanks Gina" I googled the brand and saw that they have grain free dog biscuits. Could I give him these instead as a snack? or do you have other dog treat snack suggestions?

Unfortunately, I live in a state that requires vaccinations, but they not due again till next year.

Thank you so much for your advice!
Regards,
Ronelle

Nov 24, 2013
My Online Vet Response For: Dog Chronic Diarrhea NEW
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

November 24, 2103
Hi Ronelle,
This response was copied in another thread, but I can answer it in both places.

For Snooper-
1. The protein source (chicken, beef, turkey, or lamb) should remain the same for 3-4 days before changing. Alternating every day or every other day may cause GI upsets.

2. For 85 lbs body weight, Snooper should get 1,250 calories per day. Of course, you can divide this into 3-4 meals per day. (So, if he was fed four times daily, he would need about 312 calories per meal.)

3. Correct-no digestive enzymes would be needed.

4. For treats, it would be best to stick to raw or cooked vegetables and fruit. Such as, raw or cooked baby carrots, cooked green beans, pieces of apple, cantaloupe or melon.

5. Regarding vaccinations, RABIES is the only vaccination that is required by law. See if you can locate a holistic veterinarian nearby that could write an exemption form for Snooper to 'excuse' him from this vaccine. Hopefully, he is back to normal next year, but if he gets a vaccination, it could cause a relapse in his IBD.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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