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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16287
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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We have a 11month old cocker spaniel who vomited 3days ago

Customer Question

We have a 11month old cocker spaniel who vomited 3days ago following his evening meal. since then he has had a loss of appetite (eating very little), is lethargic and diahorrea - loose, smelly pale brown liquid. He has started to loose weight. He is wormed regularly (every 3months). Otherwise a fit, active dog.
any advice, thanks Angela
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Now if your lad has diarrhea and appetite loss after vomiting (which is likely a sign of nausea), we would have a few concerns here. Most commonly we will see GI signs of this nature in a dog his age to show these signs are dietary indiscretion (eating something he shouldn’t have), viral infections (ie parvo, distemper, etc), intestinal parasitism (GI worms but also protozoa like coccidia, giardia, cryptosporidia), toxins, foreign bodies, and bacterial gastroenteritis. If he isn't a mischievous wee soul, then hopefully we can put worries like toxins and foreign bodies (which we' d want to address as soon as possible) lower on our list of concerns.

Now with all this in mind, we do want to be proactive and aggressive with our treatment if Dougie is losing weight. Therefore, your first step here since he isn't vomiting now is to address the nausea. To do so,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 (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). We tend to give these 30 minutes before offering food to give it time to be absorbed.

Once that is on board, you can try offering small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of an easily digestible option like rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion powder free). As well, there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). The easily digestible diet tends to be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. And if a infectious agent is wrecking havoc on the GI, then we want to be making his ability to gain nutrients as easy as possible for the gut. If you try this and he is settling, then do keep him on the light diet for at least a week and then slowly wean him back to his normal diet over another week.

Now diarrhea can easily dehydrate young animals, since they do not have the body resources of an adult dog (and this is what makes them feel poorly when they have diarrhea). Therefore we need to make sure he is drinking as well as possible. As well, you do need to keep a close eye on his hydration. If you are concerned that he is become dehydrated, then you do want to check his hydration. When checking a pet's hydration status, 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 he 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 he is showing those dehydration signs at this point, that is our cue to have him to the vet since oral rehydration may not be enough to get him back on track.

That said, as long has he doesn't experience further vomiting, you can encourage him to drink (ie using fresh water or low sodium chicken broth) or even syringe feed him pedialyte (or pediatric rehydration solution) if necessary. 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 he needs for the day (though doesn’t take into account diarrhea losses, so you need to add those to your total too) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of his daily requirement. If he vomits when you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want any vomiting because of our intervention).

Finally, as long as you are seeing no blood or black feces, you can consider trying him on an alternative dog safe anti-diarrheals. As I am sure you appreciate, these would not be a cure if his diarrhea is being caused by an infectious agent (ie bacteria will require antibiotics, parasites or protozoa will require anti-parasitic treatment, etc). Still it can slow the diarrhea to aid the body to 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 GI upset. In regards ***** ***** options for your wee one, the one we most commonly use in dogs is Kaolin/Kaopectate (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/kaolin-and-pectin-kapectolin-k-p/page1.aspx) or PeptoBismol (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/drug-library/bismuth-subsalicylate-pepto-bismol-kaopectate/page1.aspx --> do note that if you use this we can see this medication cause incidental black feces) available from your local pharmacy. Furthermore, Protexin Pro-Fiber (which is available OTC at vet practices) 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. So, you can consider trying these as a short term means of trying to soothe his upset GI.

If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12- 24 hours (especially since he is quite young and weight loss tells us that this is really taking its toll) or he is appearing dehydrated, then I would advise following up with his vet so that they can address possible causes of this diarrhea. If you do need him seen, then do consider taking a fecal sample with you. The vet will be able to assess the diarrhea and pinpoint the cause for all his GI signs. Based on those findings, the vet can cover him with an antibiotics if bacterial agents are suspected or specific treatment for any suspect protozoa, and aid in getting him back to him normal self.

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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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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