Why is my pet having diarrhea?
Diarrhea in our pets can be very frustrating and upsetting when it occurs. Diarrhea is caused by increased fluid within the intestinal lumen. There are two sites in the intestinal tract that can cause diarrhea. The first is due to changes in function of the small intestine or upper portion of the GI tract. This can be due to liver disease, malfunction of the gall bladder or pancreas and certain types of cancer. It can also be due to parasites, particularly whip worms that live in the lower portion of the small intestine and are difficult to diagnose.
The second site for the development of diarrhea is the colon or large intestine. Diarrhea from this area of the intestinal tract may be due to parasites, stress, diet change, certain viruses or bacteria, food allergy/ irritable bowel syndrome, cancer (adenocarcinoma, lymphoma), many antibiotics or toxins.
With mild cases of diarrhea, we typically advise people to stop all food for 12 to 24 hours, but continue to offer water. After skipping 1-2 meals, introduce a bland diet comprised of mostly regular cooked rice with a small amount of boiled chicken. Feed as a small meatball every 2 hours on the first day and gradually increase the amount and time between feedings each day and slowly transition your pet back to his or her regular diet. If diarrhea persists despite the bland diet, or if your pet is depressed, vomiting, weak, or blood is noted in the stool, a trip to the veterinarian is advised. Any young puppy or kitten with diarrhea should be seen by your veterinarian, as they are at a greater risk of complications such as low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.