Diarrhea in small animals

Causes and treatment options for diarrheal diseases in small animals


Your dog suffers from acute (less than one week) diarrhea symptoms: mushy to watery feces (blood admixtures are also possible), increased frequency of defecation and possibly pain when defecating. There may also be additional vomiting and loss of appetite. At the same time, animals often show a trouble-free general condition.

  • Consequences of diarrhea (dehydration), however, may weaken animals severely. That is why a good water supply is the most important form of treatment. If this is no longer possible due to vomiting, this may also lead to hospitalization with infusions directly into the animal’s vein.
  • Since cells of intestinal mucosa are usually severely damaged in acute diarrhea, the animal’s body must renew them. Cell renewal usually takes about 5 to7 days. During this time diarrhea is still to be expected.
  • There are many causes of acute diarrhea:


Most common causes:

  • feed intolerance when incompatible substances are ingested
  • sudden change of food (especially with puppies)
  • parasites (worms, giardia, coccidia) 8 | 10
  • feed-dependent enteritis (inflammation of the intestine) caused by bacterial breakdown products in the food

Rarer causes:

  • infections, usually with disorders in general condition (various bacteria, parvo, rota, distemper virus,). Rare, however, in older, vaccinated dogs
  • medications (antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, lactulose, cardiac drugs, some painkillers, anti-parasitics)
  • adrenal hypofunction (Addison's disease)

Recommended action

  • As can be seen from the causes listed above, the administration of an antibiotic is rarely necessary. Decisions in that respect may be taken on the basis of blood examinations and different blood values.
  • Most important is an increased intake of drinking water. This can be achieved by mixing meat broth (home cooked, only slightly salted) into the drinking water or adding water to the (diet) food.
  • The formerly practiced zero diet in cases of diarrhea is no longer recommended as intestinal cells are nourished by intestinal contents only.
  • Feeding diet food makes sense, divided into several small portions: for this purpose, cook potatoes/rice and chicken meat and add cottage cheese or low-fat curd cheese - or buy a ready-made gastro-intestinal diet. If your dog is on a special diet and the diarrhea occurred after a change of food, you may go back to the usual diet.
  • You may have received further medications from our clinic which you should administer to your dog according to our instructions or those on the package.

If there is no improvement within 3 days or your dog continues to show a poor general condition (faintness, severe vomiting or fever), please present him again at our clinic as, in such case, other causes must also be excluded and further diagnostics need to be initiated.

Go back

Copyright 2024. Pferdeklinik und Kleintierpraxis in Maichingen GmbH

Settings saved

Cookie-Hinweis: Wir setzen auf unserer Website Cookies ein. Einige von ihnen sind erforderlich, während andere uns helfen unser Onlineangebot zu verbessern. Sie können alle Cookies über den Button “Alle akzeptieren” zustimmen, oder Ihre eigene Auswahl vornehmen.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa.

You are using an outdated browser. The website may not be displayed correctly. Close