Puppy diarrhea is a common and often embarrassing symptom for pet owners. It’s also known as colic, more commonly known as “wind fever” in the veterinary world. Diarrhea is also one of the many irritating symptoms for pet owners because it can signify a possible viral infection, bacterial infection, or even just simple indigestion of the gastrointestinal tract. Any dog owner who has googled puppy diarrhea will know that many major and minor canine diseases list diarrhea as an associated symptom, which makes it difficult for dog owners to know what is less serious and what is more serious. While most cases of diarrhea are caused by poor diet or water consumption, it may also be a sign of severe internal disorders. This is why it’s so important to carefully examine any signs of illness with your vet.
Causes of Puppy Diarrhea
In order to rule out bacterial or viral infection, your vet should do some testing to confirm the cause. Although usually the first place for a veterinarian to look would be in the mouth, puppies can also have difficulty swallowing because of their small size. In this case, they will have their mouth flushed with water, and then looked at with anoxia. If no blood is present in the anoxia, this could indicate a bacterial or viral infection, and treatment by your vet should be sought immediately.
Another possibility for the cause of puppy diarrhea is a parasitic worm or intestinal parasite. These parasites exist in feces and can reside in holes or crevices within the gastrointestinal tract. A gram negative bacterium known as RPO develops in the RPO tract where it destroys the beneficial anaerobic bacteria, or flora. This results in diarrhea and vomiting as the pet tries desperately to expel the offending organism.
A diet change might be necessary if you’re feeding a diet high in starches like corn or pasta. Because starches cause excessive production of digestive juices, and consequently diarrhea, when a puppy diarrhea is present the owner may initially conclude it’s a result of the new pup eating a lot of pasta. If the puppy food you’re now feeding contains a lot of starches, you should make a switch to a different brand, or increase the amount of rice and fiber in the diet. You should also limit the amount of fresh hay that your new pup eats, or the amount of fresh green vegetables that he gets daily.
Even if your puppies are fed hypoallergenic dog food, you may still get puppy diarrhea from overeating or from parasites and other sources. Even commercial pet foods often contain additives that cause a shift in dietary requirements. Overfeeding and garbage in the gastrointestinal tract can be a probable cause of this condition. In addition, because puppies are susceptible to parasites such as hookworms and fleas, they can also pick up infection from the feces of these animals.
Another common cause of this condition is stress. Often, owners see their dogs react badly to changes in their lives. There can be many causes of stress in a dog’s life, such as separation from the family (from its owner), a change of location (to a new location in case of moving) and even a change in the household pets (to a new pet). Puppy diarrhea caused by stress is very common, particularly in adult dogs. This is just one reason that owners need to be careful about the type of food and supplements that they give their dogs.
Sometimes, other causes of puppy diarrhea are not easily recognized. If you suspect that your dog has something other than the causes mentioned above, you should contact your vet. The vet will do a thorough examination of the gastrointestinal tract and look for any abnormalities. He will then give you medication, or prescribe you another medication if there are none, to treat the causes of puppy diarrhea.
Diagnosis of this condition usually requires blood tests and culture of stool samples. Blood tests will show levels of albumin and eosinophils, which are usually indicative of various conditions, including chronic or acute blood-borne diseases. Culture of stool samples will enable the doctor to confirm the diagnosis and give you the appropriate medication. Because this condition is usually caused by some sort of microbial agent, antibiotics are usually administered and the owner and his veterinarian can discuss whether it would be advisable to give the puppy a homeopathic remedy instead.