Thank you Steve,
Now when we see hemorrhagic cranberry jelly type diarrhoea, we do have a few considerations for our dogs. The most common reasons are viral infections (ie parvo, distemper, etc), bacterial infections (ie salmonella, campylobacter, etc), toxins, intestinal parasitism (not just the worms, but the protozoa; ie Coccidia), and hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. In a dog Buster’s age with a good vaccine history, we’d be most concerned about hemorrhagic gastroenteritis with him at this stage.
So, if you can be sure that he hasn’t ingested any toxins or chemicals that we need to be worried about (since those often require urgent care), then you can try to settle some of his signs at home over today. (Though if we are struggling to get him settled, then we'd want to follow up with his vet tomorrow so that he can also be covered with antibiotics).
To start, I would advise giving him a small volume of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish. srambled eggs (made with water and not milk), or meat baby food (as long as its onion/garlic powder free). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, notable Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity. The easily digestible diet will be better tolerated then his normal food and absorbed by the compromised gut and should get some nutrients in and result in less diarrhoea. Small meals facilitate this as well and if he responds then we’d want to slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week after it has settled.
Next, if he is eating slowly with this, then nausea is highly suspect. Nausea is a common feature with diarrhoea diseases that involve the colon (which is the source of the fresh blood)therefore, to rule out nausea, there are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly that you can use. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). These are usually given 20 minutes before food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if Buster has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you have not noted.
Now diarrhea and vomiting can quickly dehydrate a dog (which is what will make them feel poorly), so we need to keep an eye on his hydration. To check his 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 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. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see). If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have him seen by his vet before this becomes an additional issue for him.
If you are concerned that he is become dehydrated, and his nausea settles with the antacid then you can offer or even syringe feed him water or unflavored pedialyte. 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 which would needed to be added into his daily total) and is a good starting point to give you an idea of his daily requirement. If he vomits you given pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want him vomiting because of our intervention).
Just to note, while it may be tempting to use anti-diarrheals here, this wouldn't be a diarrhea type to do so. The reason is because if this is caused by the aforementioned viruses or bacteria, slowing these feces can actually make them feel worse (as the virus can get a better "hold" in the gut and some bacteria secrete toxic substances that the body is trying to flush out with diarrhea). Therefore, light diets and keep him hydrated are key with this type of diarrhea.
If you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours or any vomiting, then I would advise following up with his vet at that stage. They will be able to examine him, rule out fever, and assess his hydration. If Parvo is rife in your area just now, then they will be able to test for this to make sure its not the case for Buster. Furthermore, it would be ideal for you to bring in a fresh fecal sample so that your vet can see what he is passing and if necessary this can be submitted for analysis (to determine the underlying agent for the diarrhea). Depending on their findings, they will be able to cover him with broad spectrum antibiotics and if one of the nasty viruses are diagnosed, then they can start him on supportive care to clear these as well.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
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