What is diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a symptom and not a disease by itself, characterised by increase in frequency of stool and change of consistency in faeces.
It can be caused by many aetiological factors like viral, bacterial, protozoa, parasitic, chemical, toxic agents. The dog will pass frequent and large volume of watery stool often containing blood or clots or digested blood in case of small intestinal origin. If the origin is large intestinal then there will be frequent small quantity of semisolid or pasty stool and sometimes fresh blood- this is called dysentery. Diarrhea is sometimes associated with vomiting if there is concurrent gastritis.
What happens in diarrhea…
A stomach upset can result in different kinds of faeces:
- Light brown stools are usually the result of excess bilirubin and iron in the body. Lighter coloured stool which appears watery or contains mucus, indicates intestinal inflammation, also known as gastritis.
- Greenish brown faeces occur when bile (produced by liver to digest fats) passes through the intestinal tract without proper processing.
- Black stools result from blood in the digestive system and so are a major cause for concern. Although certain medications may cause black stool for a couple of days as well.
Treatment: If your dog is showing symptoms of diarrhea, immediately contact the vet to identify the cause and accordingly treat him. As a first aid, sufficient ORS should be fed to the pet and normal meal should be skipped at least for half a day. The vet may prescribe oral medication, but depending on the severity and duration, saline injections may be needed.
Prevention: To prevent diarrhea, the aim should be at preventing the causes. For example, viral causes can be prevented by proper vaccination. Parasitic causes can be combated with periodical deworming, preventing animals exposure to potential bacterial, toxins, stale food etc may have the potential benefits of preventing the symptoms of diarrhea.
In the late summer and early rainy season, viral diarrhea like parvo, corona, parasitic and food poisoning are common. However, diarrhea can easily be prevented and checked with timely veterinary intervention.
(With inputs from Dr Snehashish Banerjee, Kolkata)