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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14851
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have 2 German shepherds, one is 5 years old the second is

Customer Question

I have 2 German shepherds, one is 5 years old the second is nearly 12, both have very bad stomachs with diarrhea, what do you recommend??? Should I still walk them??
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.

Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that your pups have diarrhea and I understand your concern for them.

Diarrhea means that the gastrointestinal system is irritated. If the colon is affected you may see mucous or bright red blood in the stool, the darker the blood the more digested it is and the farther up the gastrointestinal tract it is from, you might also see more of a constant urge to go and small amounts of diarrhea frequently. If it is small bowel diarrhea you won't see mucous or bright red blood but can see more stool then usual and it will often be watery, although the frequency won't be much different then usual.

Diarrhea can be from a bacterial or viral infection, eating something they should not have (toys, bones, bugs, another dog's food etc), gastrointestinal parasites, a dietary allergy or sensitivity, or a quick change in diet.
Because multiple dogs are affected I would be highly suspicious of things like a diet switch, eating bad food, a viral or bacterial infection or gastrointestinal parasites.


If everyone feels well we can try some things at home.

If they have some stomach gurgling it is likely they have some stomach upset and reflux that can go along with diarrhea.
To try and settle the stomach today you can try either:

1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours.
OR
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one 10mg tablet per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
These will reduce stomach acid and should help if this is related to simple nausea and gastrointestinal irritation. If there's no increase in intestinal noise and appetite remains good you can skip acid reducers.

 

I would not feed them any food for 24 hours. This should help stop gut spasms and restore normal gut motility. Small amounts of water or ice cubes given frequently are fine as they need fluids after all that they have lost with diarrhea. You can give pedialyte to replace electrolytes too but Gatorade is much too high in sugar which can make diarrhea worse.


Today even with the fast you can start Kao-pectate at 1ml per pound or one tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight every 6 to 8 hours. This is quite safe and will coat the irritated gi tract as well as absorbing bacterial toxins. You can use it for several days until diarrhea stops. You can find kao-pectate at the drug store.


If either dog has a tense, painful abdomen, continues to have diarrhea with the stool not firming up after being on kao pectate for 24 hours, becomes very lethargic, begins vomiting or runs a fever greater than 103.5F then that dog really must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

Because this may be contagious I do not recommend walking them until their stools are normal. Also dogs with diarrhea can be dehydrated so we do want to restrict exercise until we are sure hydration is back to normal.


After 24 hours start a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, lean hamburger (or white skinless chicken), all fats and juices drained off mixed with 2/3 boiled, plain white rice. Feed several small meals a day.

 

Once the dogs feel better (no diarrhea for 48 hours) start mixing in regular dog food very slowly. Less bland more regular with each day. It should take a week or so to convert them back.


You should submit several fresh stools to their veterinarian for a parasite check even if they seem to be feeling better. Parasites are a very common cause of diarrhea and can be shed episodically, so the symptoms can be on and off. I would be very suspicious of them given the history you have given.
Let me know if you have any more questions.

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