Thank you Isabel,
Now we can all appreciate that demands that both the pregnancy and her lactation will be significant on Macey. Therefore, at a time of where her resources are stretched thin, it is not uncommon to see mother dogs suffer from diarrhea (or other illness) issues. This can arise for a range of reasons, but usually centres around her immune compromised status from pouring all her resources into the puppies at the cost of keeping herself in peak shape. And it is quite possible that she was starting to respond to the tablets but since her immune system has no resources to spare to fight this agent, relapse occurred with too short a course.
In regards ***** ***** infectious agents that can trigger diarrhea in the weakened mum, we'd have to consider parasites, protozoa, bacteria and viruses. With all this in mind, we do want to take some steps to rule out some of these agents.
Therefore, the first step in a situation like this would be to make sure mum is up to date on her worming (usually we will worm them through pregnancy with Panacur). Parasitic agents can often play a role at these times and should be ruled out first. This is because the worms capitalize on her drop in immune system strength during the stress of birth/lactation to spread increase their production of eggs. This often lead to diarrhea for mum and also is the route the parasites use to infect the puppies as well. Of course, we need to be careful with what we use to worm her (since not all medications are safe for this life stage). Therefore, do consider using Panacur for mum and you can even use it for the pups as early as 2 weeks of age.
If you worm her but see no change, then we'd have to consider the issues like unresolved bacterial infection, protozoal (ie giardia, coccidia, cryptosporidia, tritrichomonas, etc) and viral causes for diarrhea. If she had responded to the tablets that were given, then you may want to ring your vet for a longer course to ensure you clear the infection. Otherwise, you may want to consider having a fresh fecal sample tested for these common diarrhea agents. Depending on the findings, treatment can be tailored for mum, the risk to the puppies assessed and we'd be in a position to know whether the puppies may need to be treated as well (even if they are potentially asymptomatic at the moment).
While doing all this, we do need to make sure to provide supportive care. The light/easily digestible diet is a good step since it is easier for the GI to absorb. Just to note some other options if besides chicken, you can also use boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). When feeding her, consider doing so in small frequent meals to prevent her gut from being overwhelmed by large quantities of food which can also lead to increased diarrhea as it struggles to absorb the full amount.
Further to that, we also want to keep an eye on her hydration since it is quite easy for water loss from diarrhea to become too much for her to keep up with. Therefore, it would be a good idea to check her hydration status at this point. To check her hydration status to make sure she is 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. (They use a big dog but the principles are just the same for a dog of any size). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then that would be our cue to have her seen by her vet to avoid this getting serious for her.
If her hydration is good, we still want to continue to support her drinking. Make sure she has fresh water and you can even offer low sodium chicken broth. If she isn't drinking well, then you can even syringe feed her pedialyte (which is nice because it replaces electrolytes as well as fluids). A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal is 48 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day. This value will give you the total she needs for the day (though doesn’t take into account diarrhea losses and you'd want to add an equivalent volume in as well) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of her daily requirement. If she vomits you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want her vomiting more because of our intervention)
Overall, your lass is in that period of her motherhood where her immune system and body resources will be the most tapped and therefore vulnerable to opportunistic agents. And it is likely the reason why we are now seeing diarrhea.
Therefore, we do want to provide supportive care but if the tablets were helping then we'd want to consider a longer course to completely clear this for her. If try that, worm her, and perhaps try a dog safe GI balancing anti-diarrhea product (ie Protexin Pro-Fiber, example) but she doesn't settle then we'd need to consider having a fecal sample evaluated for those common parasitic (worms but protozoa too), viral and bacterial causes of diarrhea in dogs. Depending on the findings, you will be able to then address this effectively for her and make sure this agent doesn't get a chance to spread to the puppies .
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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