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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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over the last few weeks my 12 yr old collie has had a

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over the last few weeks my 12 yr old collie bitch has had a grumbling stomach and diarrhea on and off.The grumbling is loud and can be heard from a distance away from her and seems to cause her distress.It always starts about 2 am in the morning goes on for some hours and stops then she seems fine although the runs persists for that day.Last night again started about 2am but was very bad the noise has stopped now but she seems poorly.I have been trying to worm her for days but an loathed to give her anything else that could upset her poor tummy regards XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, Val. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

 

The grumbling you hear will be due to gas within the GI being moved as liquid feces is pushed through and/or if the gut is spasming with GI upset. These will be side effects of the same culprit that is causing her diarrhea. Therefore, especially if she is feeling poorly with this now, we do have to consider what could be triggering this and address it for wee Pip.

 

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, just like people, dogs can have diarrhea that is caused by a range of agents. These include bacterial viral, parasitic (worms but also protozoa like Giardia, Coccidia, Tritrichomonas), toxic, cancerous (ie GI lymphoma --which is a concern at her age), inflammatory disease (ie IBD), and general dietary indiscretions causes. (Though in Pip's case, toxins and dietary indiscretions are potentially less likely at her age). It can be daunting to get to the bottom of which differential is to blame, but it does sound like you have made the right start.

Now the light diet is a good idea, but if Pip has a chronic sensitivity, then you may want to consider a trial on an easily digestible veterinary prescription diets like Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity. These can be useful for dogs with chronic intermittent signs and work to rule out nutritional sensitivities as a trigger for her signs. In any case, any light diet option is ideal when we have GI upset because they will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut and should get some nutrients in and result in less diarrhea. Also do make sure to feed this as small frequent meals to further decrease the volume of diarrhea she is producing.

Now if you have her on the light diet and she isn't settling on that alone, then we would have to consider those more infectious agents for her. In that case, I would advise using a broad spectrum wormer now (ie Drontal, Milbemax, Pancur, etc). While I appreciate that you are concerned about making things worse, treating for worms will not cause diarrhea and would be more likely to stop it if worms are to blame. So, I would advise trying this now to start ruling out potential causes for Pip.

Otherwise, I do want to note since diarrhea can quickly dehydrate an older dog, even as she is drinking, so we need to keep an eye on her hydration. The reason is because no matter how much they drink, we often find that dogs just cannot keep up with diarrhea fluid losses for long (and dehydration is what makes them feel poorly). To check her hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, since she is older, then you do want to have her seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for her.

If you are concerned that she is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Furthermore, you can offer rehydration solutions like Pedialyte. Pedialyte is nice (though aim for a flavorless one) because it will get some of those lost electrolytes back into her as well. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48mls per kilogram of weight a day. Of course, her requirement will be higher since we'd have to also consider how much fluid is being lost in her diarrhea. So, if she is drinking well then you don't need to syringe her fluids. Still, this baseline will give you an idea to whether she is meeting this target plus matching her own losses.

 

Since that grumbling stomach could be a sign of upper GI upset along with the diarrhea, I would note that you could consider trying her with an antacid. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK). Typically, this is given 30 minutes before food to be absorbed and in effect before offering food.

 

Furthermore, there are some anti-diarrheals that can be used in dogs to slow things down for their gut. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure (since cures would depend on the culprit and might include antibiotics or anti-parasitics, etc.) but would slow the diarrhea to aid the body potentially absorb more water/nutrients then it would have if the diarrhea were unchecked. Furthermore, these treatments will coat the GI and could just settle the gas and spasming for her. In regards XXXXX XXXXX options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose) or PeptoBismol (More Info/Dose) available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices; example) would be another option. All will slow diarrhea and the Pro-Fiber has the bonus of providing support to the delicate good bacteria of the GI.

 

Finally, to tackle this gas itself (though if you address the diarrhea you will likely settle this for her anyway), there are a few treatments you can give. For example, Simethicone (ie Gas-X) can be used in dogs at a dose of 1mg per pound of his body weight. As well, BCK granules (LINK) can be mixed into food and help settle any gas in the GI. Furthermore, there are also a range of palatable charcoal based biscuits that can help settle the stomach and relieve trapped wind (example). Do note any charcoal products need to be given an hour after anything else since they will absorb medication as well as gas in the GI. As well there are some holistic preparations on the market that might be helpful for him.

 

Overall, it is likely the grumbling is a secondary sign associated with her diarrhea. Therefore, I would advise worming her now and consider the above supportive care. If you do so over the next 24 hours and she doesn't settle, then we would need to consider infectious agents and at that stage we'd want to get her vet involved. They can examine her, assess her hydration and diarrhea to help you pinpoint a cause for this. Depending on the exam +/- fecal test findings, you will then be in a position to know if she needs anything prescribed and if so what she needs to clear this for her.

 

Finally, just to note in case you were keen to have her seen today, some veterinary practices in our country have holiday office hours. As well, I wanted to mention that most veterinary practices here do have contingency plans for emergency care for their patients even when they are not open. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get her seen today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on how to contact their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet you can find one local to you, you can check you can check the RCVS Register (HERE) to find your local Vets Now (LINK) who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get her checked out sooner then there are options to have her seen today too.

 

 

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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