My name is***** I am a UK based veterinary surgeon with a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Small Animal Medicine). I am delighted to be able to help you in your time of need. I know how worrying it can be when your pet is unwell, I have a 4-year-old Bracco Italiano and a moggy cat called Milo and I adore both of them!
Diarrhoea (with or without vomiting) is a very common problem in cats and dogs and there are many things that can cause it, the majority of causes are simple, short lived and minor.
The initial priority is to ensure that any cat or dog that has diarrhoea is not critically unwell and therefore in need of urgent veterinary attention, this would be to support the patient (dehydration is a common outcome following profuse diarrhoea especially if associated with vomiting or anorexia/lack of drinking) So, if Belka is quiet, lethargic, collapsed, breathing quickly or unresponsive then it would be best to try to see urgent veterinary attention. Also it is important to check a couple of things to make sure they are not dehydrated or in circulatory shock. So you can assess how dehydrated an animal is in a very crude way. This is done by gently grabbing a fold of skin at the scruff of the neck and lifting it a few centimetres and letting go, it should drop back to the body instantly, if it is slow or appears ‘sticky’ then this can indicate dehydration. This is not 100% accurate but it can help. Also, it is helpful to look at the mucous membrane colour, the mucous membranes are located at several sites of the body, the easiest one to access are the gums. So if you lift up a lip and look at the gums above the top rows of teeth, they should be shiny and a pale pink (salmon pink). If they are purple/red or white then this can indicate serious disease and prompt veterinary attention sought.
So, if Belka is bright alert and responsive and not obviously dehydrated or unwell in behaviour, then I can advise and support you through some initial home management, assuming a mild, short lived upset.
So, there are many different things that can cause diarrhoea, what is initially
important is to decide if there is a gastrointestinal or non-gastrointestinal causes i.e. disease affecting the intestines or diseases affecting other internal organs or hormonal disease (that secondarily cause diarrhoea). Usually, non-gastrointestinal causes tend to make animals unwell or they have had diarrhoea for a while possibly with other clinical signs (such as weight loss). The sudden onset of diarrhoea in a bright and happy animal is likely to be gastrointestinal in nature.
Once again, there are a few things that can cause this; the list includes things like enteritis/colitis (inflammation of the small or large intestines) acute/chronic inflammatory bowel disease and pancreatitis. The usual cause is given the vague descriptor of ‘dietary indiscretion’ in that they have eaten something grotty!!
It is quiet common to see some fresh blood/mucous in the diarrhoea and this can be a sign of large intestinal diarrhoea (colitis) it is usually nothing to worry about and either indicates a little bit of inflammation in the intestinal wall that is bleeding or a possible tear in the rectum from straining. However, if the faeces/diarrhoea is black and sticky, this can indicate bleeding from the small intestines and definitely requires a vet exam. Also diarrhoea that is effectively solid red/purple and voluminous can indicate a condition called haemorrhagic gastroenteritis and this requires urgent care as cases of this can deteriorate very rapidly.
So, if Belka is alert and happy and mobile, I think to begin with I would recommend treating as though they had acute enteritis/colitis. So we can do the following.....
Temporarily replace the normal food fed with a bland food comprising of a protein source (chicken, turkey, low fat cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, white fish) with a carbohydrate (rice, pasta, mashed potato, sweet potato, pumpkin) Try feeding a food that hasn’t been fed before.
Day 1: Feed a total of about 50% the normal volume of food fed, split into 5-6 meals through the day and evening
Day 2: Feed 75% the normal volume of food, split into 3-4 meals through the day.
Day 3: Feed 100% the normal amount of food (but the bland temporary food stuff) in 2-3 meals through the day.
You can try warming the food or adding a little chicken broth/stock to it to make it more appealing, this is particularly useful in animals where their appetite may be reduced.
It is vital to ensure free access to water, sometimes dogs and cats will gorge on water and then be sick, this is something we do not want, so if this is happening offer, small and frequent amounts of water, maybe from a shallow saucer/bowl to limit gorging.
I don’t like advising owners to give dogs medication to stop the diarrhoea without a clinical exam as sometimes we want the diarrhoea to come out and we can worsen the situation by binding things up prematurely. BUT if Belka is getting worse, relapse or new signs develop (anorexia, collapse, lethargy, diarrhoea) then best to get a check up.
Good luck and take care