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Dog Diarrhea Keeps Returning

by Gigi
(Atlanta, GA, USA)

August 2010

August 2010

My female Great Dane has developed dog diarrhea. We have tried several different treatments, and the diarrhea keeps returning.


She is approximately 7 years old (rough estimation, as she is a rescue.) We have had her for 3 years, and she has never been sensitive to food or to food changes.

Since the beginning, she has been very anxious and maintained a very low weight. She is a smaller Great Dane, but even still - she has stayed around a weight of 110-120.

Over the last few years, we have tried a variety of dog foods in attempt to help her gain a bit of weight. She sometimes eats well, and then other times acts very picky and skips meals.

The foods we have tried:
Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult and Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy. (Her vet recommended trying a puppy diet.)
Nutro Natural Choice (only for a brief time)
Wellness CORE
Wellness Complete Large Breed

I also added flax seed to her food for a few months, but that didn't affect her weight gain.

In the most recent years: She was on Wellness CORE for about a year and a half, and she had gained a bit of weight. We then transitioned her to Wellness Complete for Large Breeds, and she has been eating that food for the last 7 months. During that time, she put on a bit of weight. She has been at about 140 for the last 6 months. (We wondered if her weight gain could have been due to her age, too.)

She has "tried" quite a few foods, and never once did she develop soft stool. Though she doesn't get table scraps often, if we visit family, someone invariably gives her people food. She has never had any digestive upset in response to sudden changes in food.

In what seemed out of the blue about a month and a half ago, she developed diarrhea suddenly. We woke up one morning to accidents throughout our apartment. It was urgent & explosive. No signs of blood, but a very very bad smell and mucus often present. Since then, we have been unable to control her diarrhea for a consistent stretch.

Initially, we fasted her for 12 hours, then gave her a bland diet of chicken and rice. Her diarrhea stopped while on the chicken and rice. She showed no signs of dehydration. Then we tried to transition her back to the wellness dog food that she had been on for the last 7 months. We did purchase a new bag of the food, just to make sure we hadn't gotten a "bad bag" before the diarrhea first started. But, she immediately began having diarrhea again. At this point we took her to the vet.

Vet checked her stool & found nothing. Tested for giardia - negative. Said she showed no signs of dehydration. Did not do any blood tests. Gave us an Rx for Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat. Also gave her a shot (I'm sorry that I can't remember of what) of something to help stop the diarrhea, and then sent us home with an Rx for Metronidazole 500mg. (3 tab 2x day; 48 pills)

She was on the RC prescription dog food & took the pills for 8 days. She had normal stools during that time. After 8 days, we began slowly transitioning her to Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy food. (She had been on that food several years ago with no issues.) She has been transitioning for over a week, and she reached the half-way mark yesterday. (Half Royal Canin, half Blue Buffalo) Her diarrhea began again last night.

She has an appetite, is drinking plenty of water and having normal urine output.

What should we do now?

We are going out of town next weekend, so my plan was to put her back on the prescription food until we got back. But I know that doesn't address the cause of her diarrhea.

Thank you so much for your time & help!

PS - most likely irrelevant, but... she had her tail docked just after I adopted her. She had developed gangrene on the end, as she kept breaking open the tip of her tail when she wagged it.

Comments for Dog Diarrhea Keeps Returning

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Feb 27, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Diarrhea Keeps Returning
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Gigi,
Great photo of your dog! The docked tail was something that had me guessing the breed. And the history of why she had it docked is important! While it would be important for her to have a full workup by a holistic veterinarian, I will give you some quick suggestions on what you can do now, based on what you have posted.

Return to the chicken and rice diet. Add in 'human' doses of acidophilus to each meal, to replenish all of the normal gut flora that she has lost with the dog diarrhea.

She also needs to have some Rescue Remedy, add 2-3 drops to her drinking water two times daily for the next 3 weeks. It will not matter if you have other dogs that drink from her water, it will not hurt them. Rescue Remedy is for humans with anxiety, but for your dog with frequent urgency from chronic diarrhea, it will help to calm her down and also her GI tract.

She will also need the homeopathic remedy, Secale cornutum. If you can get 12c or 30c potency, it will come in a vial with small pellets. She will need one pellet by mouth two times daily for 3 days. (You are not supposed to touch the remedies with your fingers. They will come in a vial, in which you remove the cap, tip the vial upside down and twist the opening so a pellet will drop out into the cap. Then 'pour' the pellet into her mouth. You can assist her by pulling out the side of her lower lip and just drop it into the area between her teeth and her cheek.)

She may also need the herb Slippery Elm for a few days for the diarrhea. Since she is human-size, just dose her for a human, three times daily for 5-7 days.

(To be continued in Part Two-Chronic Dog Diarrhea)

Feb 27, 2011
Part Two - My Online Vet Response for Dog Diarrhea Keeps Returning
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

(PART TWO-CHRONIC DIARRHEA cont'd from above)

Once her stool is more solid, you might consider a transition to a raw natural dog food diet, or at least a partial raw diet, mixed in with the previous diets that she was eating before. They were all very good brands. Check out our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options.

The 'sudden' occurrence of colitis (that's what this chronic diarrhea with mucous is called) may have been due to a dog vaccination. You did not mention if she had a recent vaccine before all of this started.

Or it could be due to an emotional distress, such as if you have moved, or divorced, etc.

If this was secondary to a recent vaccination, I would be VERY concerned about future adverse reactions if she continues to get vaccinated. You can consult with a holistic veterinarian in your area regarding an exemption form for vaccinations.

Click here to 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

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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

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