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#2 Reason Dogs Go To The ER

From The Dog Crazy Newsletter

By PetPlace.com

Last week I told you the number one reason pet owners take their dogs… is vomiting.

Can you guess what is #2?

Well?… It is diarrhea. I know that this is not a pleasant subject, but it is so common that I believe all that all pet owners should know what to do if your dog has an on-set of diarrhea. So please take a minute to read this e-mail so you know what to look for and what to do.

Let’s get started…

A quick medical definition  for diarrhea is a sudden onset and short duration (three weeks or less) of watery or watery-mucoid diarrhea. Occasionally the fecal material is also overtly bloody.

Diarrhea results from excessive water content in the feces and is an important sign of intestinal diseases in the dog. Diarrhea can affect your dog by causing extreme fluid loss, which leads to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/or acid-base imbalances.

Diarrhea is a symptom that can be caused by many different diseases or conditions, and specific treatment requires a diagnosis.

Common causes of diarrhea include:

1. Dietary indiscretion can include the eating of spoiled food, overeating, the ingestion of foreign materials, and/or sudden changes in the diet.

2. Intestinal parasites (e.g. roundworms, hookworms, whipworms) are a common cause of acute diarrhea, especially in young dogs.

3. Bacteria and bacterial toxins (Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Yersinia, etc.) may cause acute diarrhea and may be contracted from contaminated food and water, or exposure to the fecal material of other infected animals.

Although most cases of acute diarrhea are short-lived and self-limiting, there are some cases that require diagnostic testing to confirm an underlying cause. This will require that you take your dog into see you vet or to the Emergency Room.

How much will going in to see the vet for a dog with diarrhea cost you? Anywhere from $100 – $300+ depending whether they do fecal studies, complete blood count, radiographs and other diagnostic tests.

Could you afford to cover emergencies like this out of pocket?  How about even more costly emergencies? Have you looked into pet insurance yet? If you have not done so, take a minute to find out how pet insurance can save you money – go to: veterinarypetinsurance.com .

The good news, is that in many cases the prognosis for cure of self-limiting diarrhea is very good. When the diarrhea begins you should feed a bland diet, made from a boiled lean meat (chicken, hamburger or turkey) mixed 50/50 with boiled white rice. Do not use any additives such as butter, salt, garlic, or seasoning. Over a couple days, you can slowly decrease the bland diet and increase is regular food until he is back on his normal food.

If the dog that has diarrhea acts lethargic, weak, the diarrhea has blood or vomiting begins, the recommendation is to have the dog evaluated by a veterinarian even if you have to pay for it out-of-pocket. Your dog’s health is the first priority.

Until next time…

Dr. Jon

P.S. – Once the diarrhea has resolved, keep your dog on a consistent, balanced diet and restrict access to garbage and other things that can cause diarrhea. If your dog’s diarrhea has failed to respond to the management outlined, it may require more extensive diagnostics. You should have your dog reevaluated by your veterinarian.

P.P.S. – Vomiting and diarrhea are very common and in the best of cases can cost hundreds of dollars in office / ER visits or thousands if there is a more serious underlying condition. If you have the cash in the bank and are willing to spend it, that is great. However, if unexpected expenses are a problem, please consider pet insurance. They have a number of different plans to fit different budgets.  To get a quote and see if there is plan that is right for you Go to: petinsurance.com.


May 19, 2008 - Posted by | K9 Health

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