Diarrhea in dogs is very common, and dogs quite often will develop acute and even chronic forms of this condition.
CPE, officially known as Clostridium perfringens enterotoxicosis, is now associated as the major cause of chronic diarrhea in pets.
Although CPE is thought to be less of a cause of diarrhea in cats, it is so often diagnosed as the cause, that consideration is being given that it to may be the main cause of diarrhea in cats as well.
Diarrhea in dogs will take on two distinctive forms; acute and chronic.
Acute diarrhea will usually come on unexpectedly and very suddenly in your dog. It may last only a day or so, but can also last up to a week to ten days in some cases.
In fully understanding exactly what diarrhea is to your dog, here are some details.
Diarrhea in dogs is much more than just a watery stool and covers much more ground of the overall definitive term.
It will of course include a watery stool, but will also include your dog straining while trying to defecate and stools that are close to normal but soft in nature.
It will also include stools that will resemble cow piles as well as stools with unusual color and odor.
Your dog lives in quite a different world than what we live in.
They live close to the ground.
They are carnivorous, and as we all know, they will eat almost anything if given the chance.
While acute diarrhea in dogs could be a precursor of chronic diarrhea which is much more serious, it is most likely caused by something that they have eaten and can easily be treated at home.
Dogs, when they have eaten something strange and before they get acute diarrhea, will most likely vomit. That is their natural function to rid their bodies of the assaulting toxins.
In reality, acute forms of diarrhea in dogs are not a disease at all, but a natural form of your dog actually restoring its system back to health.
Chronic diarrhea, however, is something entirely different.
Chronic diarrhea will have one or more of the symptoms of a normal stool followed by a soft stool, mucus or blood coated stools, and of course soft or watery stools.
Chronic by definition means that the condition may be continual, sporadic in that it is good one day, bad the next and your dog will start to lose weight as a result.
The dog could also become lethargic, develop a rough coat due to losing valuable nutrients, and flat out not feel good.
Chronic diarrhea in dogs can affect your dog’s immune system due to the depletion of nutrients, and actually be toxic, as 25% of the immune system resides in intestinal lining.
Dogs with chronic diarrhea may also experience large bowel diarrhea.
Stressful events or diet changes may also be a catalyst of chronic diarrhea, but again, acute diarrhea will be the first warning sign, especially if it persists.
Unlike acute diarrhea in dogs, chronic diarrhea will inhibit your dog’s immune system from repairing itself.
Other types of disorders will often develop, and with the combination of these elements working against your dog’s immune system, it cannot repair itself.
This can be a very dangerous situation for your best friend, and often routine types of medicines or treatments will not be effective in chronic conditions.
Some of the causes of chronic diarrhea in dogs could include some or all of the following:
Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms or roundworms, food allergies, inflammatory or irritable bowel syndrome (much like humans), organ disease such as liver, thyroid, or kidney disease, and leaky gut syndrome.
Leaky gut syndrome is not well known, but is fairly common.
This is where partially digested food, toxins, and or bacteria will pass through the small intestine and enter into the bloodstream.
Your dog, if it is truly healthy, should be able to eat a wide selection of various foods without developing issues.
In fact, if dogs are recommended to eat special diets or special foods to avoid chronic diarrhea, they are not considered to be healthy.
Extremely bland diets may help to reduce the systems and work in the short term, but they will limit the amount of very valuable nutrients that you dog will need to maintain a healthy life.
If you suspect that your dog has chronic diarrhea, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
There are several probiotic supplements, (which are supplements that contain potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast), and digestive aids for dogs that can help with acute diarrhea, but not chronic diarrhea.
That needs to be left to your veterinarian.
When to contact your veterinarian?
Your dog in most cases will tell you, or at least give you all of the signs.
If they continue to eat and drink normally, and seem to have normal energy and not act lethargic at all, it most likely will be acute diarrhea, and you should be able to treat that on your own.
If the signs tell you otherwise, it is time to take your pet in.
If they are acting very sick, are feverish with rectal temperatures above 103.5, are vomiting persistently, or have blood in their stools, these are the signs of chronic diarrhea.
There are, besides the excellent brands available today of digestive aids to help this condition, several things you can do.
Cut their food done initially, and try feeding them bland diets that you prepare yourself.
Low fat meats such as chicken and turkey burger (low in fat and full of nutrients), combined with rice, are excellent diets to place your dog on that will be much easier on their systems.
Try that for a week or so, if the condition improves, your dog’s immune system has responded. If not, it is time to call your veterinarian.