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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 33266
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My 4 year old cross breed has been doing very soft poo's

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My 4 year old cross breed harry has been doing very soft poo's which are sometimes a bit opaque and jelly looking, l have tried several different types of dog food dry and wet but so far nothing seems to work ! He has a dry warm nose but is quite lively, he also pants quite a bit but l put that down to very warm weather.
l wonder if you could advise me as too what l can do for him !

Carol, I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner and sorry to hear of this with Harry. The jelly you're seeing indicates colonic mucus. Excessive mucus indicates a colitis but not the cause of the colitis.

I would approach Harry's chronic diarrhea in the following manner although the order in which I've listed the various approaches can vary:

1) Presumptive worm with over the counter fenbendazole (Panacur) available in many pet/feed stores. Fenbendazole addresses all of the nematodes (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms) as well as the protozoan Giardia. This should be done even if a fecal ova and parasite exam didn't reveal parasites. That exam is too often falsely negative.

2) If worming weren't helpful, perform a gastrointestinal diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests. This should include a specCPL blood test (most sensitive for detecting the presence of pancreatitis), a TLI blood test (to check for maldigestion), and serum folate and vitamin B12 levels (to check for malabsorption of nutrients). Fecal culture looking for the gastrointestinal pathogens Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, and Salmonella can be considered as well.

3) If this testing didn't reveal anything untoward, an abdominal ultrasound should be considered. Ultrasound is the most sensitive and readily available imaging modality for the gastrointestinal tract itself. My concerns would be inflammatory bowel disease, lymphangectasia, and neoplasia (cancer) such as lymphoma and solid tumors such as adenocarcinomas.

4) Perform a hypoallergenic food trial in an attempt to identify food intolerance. Food intolerance/allergy is addressed with prescription hypoallergenic diets. These special foods contain just one novel (rabbit, duck, e.g.) animal protein or proteins that have been chemically altered (hydrolyzed) to the point that Harry's immune system doesn't "see" anything to be allergic to. The over the counter hypoallergenic foods too often contain proteins not listed on the label - soy is a common one - and these proteins would confound our evaluation of the efficacy of the hypoallergenic diet. The prescription foods are available from his vet. There are many novel protein foods and a prototypical hydrolyzed protein food is Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d ultra (a hydrolyzed protein diet is my preference because it avoids the possibility of my patient being intolerant to even a novel protein). A positive response is usually seen within a few weeks if we’ve eliminated the offending food allergen. Food intolerance can arise at any age and even after our patient has been eating the same food for quite some time.

5. Scoping and biopsying of the gastrointestinal tract

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.