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What is Acute Sudden Diarrhea?

Diarrhea can last for several days to several weeks, and can even last a month without proper veterinary care. If your dog has diarrhea for under a day, there may be no real cause for concern, but it will be important to watch over your dog to see if other symptoms develop. 

Canines can get this illness from time to time, and it typically lasts two to four days. If it persists and becomes a chronic condition, contact the veterinarian to see precisely what is causing your furry companion's digestive trouble.

The condition of abnormally frequent loose and runny stools is known as diarrhea, and acute diarrhea is characterized by one cause with a sudden onset.

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Symptoms of Acute Sudden Diarrhea in Dogs

Symptoms of diarrhea are straightforward and common at times; however, if your dog has black diarrhea, then there could be internal bleeding and your dog must be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of acute (sudden) diarrhea include:

  • Very loose stools, almost liquid-like
  • Flatulence
  • Mucus in the stool
  • Straining when defecating
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Malaise 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight

Types

In some cases of diarrhea, the underlying cause may be parasites. Dogs can get parasites from eating things they shouldn’t eat, such as soil or feces. They can also get parasites if they accidentally eat food or drink water that is contaminated. Puppies can become infected from their mother. Parasites that can give your dog diarrhea are:

  • Roundworm
  • Whipworms
  • Hookworms
  • Giardia
  • Coccidia
  • Salmonella
  • E.Coli
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Causes of Acute Sudden Diarrhea in Dogs

What gives dogs diarrhea? Certain types of breeds can come down with diarrhea more than others, such as German Shepherds, due to a higher percentage of this breed having pancreatic issues. Also, young puppies are more likely to get diarrhea due to parasites than adult dogs. Acute dog diarrhea can be caused by several factors. These causes can be:

  • Sudden dietary changes
  • Intolerance to certain foods
  • Eating spoiled food
  • Parasites
  • Poisonous substances that are ingested
  • Ingestion of an object
  • Reaction or allergy to a substance
  • Infection, either bacterial or viral
  • Inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer of the digestive area
  • Medication
  • Digestive area tumors
  • Colitis
  • Stress
  • Gastrointestinal disorder or stress
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Diagnosis of Acute Sudden Diarrhea in Dogs

If your dog has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, it is time to take them to the veterinarian. Be sure to provide easily accessed, fresh water so your pet does not become dehydrated. When you take your dog to the veterinarian, the doctor will ask you when the onset was, or whether your dog consumed anything different or something they should not have, such as garbage. A generalized history of the last few days will be helpful.  

The veterinarian will then assess your dog for underlying medical disorders or abnormalities. Blood work can indicate irregularities in digestive function. If possible, a fecal sample will be analyzed. The vet may perform imaging tests like an ultrasound of the abdomen and lower intestines, a biopsy, or endoscopy.

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Treatment of Acute Sudden Diarrhea in Dogs

Many acute and sudden dog diarrhea episodes can be monitored by you at home. Observing your companion during the time they have the loose and runny stools is crucial; you must be sure they are drinking water to avoid becoming dehydrated. In terms of eating, it is a good idea to withhold food for twelve hours to allow the GI tract to rest and heal. Gradually add boiled chicken and rice to the diet, and if you prefer, you can give them a probiotic supplement. The bland diet should be fed for a few days. Avoid all medications or over-the-counter drugs.

If the sudden onset diarrhea does not resolve within a day or two, or if the episodes are continual, consult the veterinarian without delay. If your pup is dehydrated, they will be hospitalized and fluids will be given intravenously. Antidiarrheal products may be prescribed to regulate the system again and reduce inflammation in the intestines.

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Recovery of Acute Sudden Diarrhea in Dogs

In terms of recovery, once the veterinarian has made an accurate diagnosis, they will instruct you on what to do at home. If the diarrhea is caused by a more serious, underlying disorder, recovery and management may vary depending on what the diagnosis is.

Your pet may need medication and require a follow-up visit to the clinic. Home care may involve easing your dog back into their regular feeding routine. Discuss temporary solutions like bone broth or chicken and rice. It may help your dog to have pumpkin or sweet potato as a remedy for diarrhea. Full of fiber and vitamins, small servings can work toward bulking up the stool. 

For the future, prevention of diarrhea can be quite successful. In order to help keep diarrhea at bay, your pup should be up-to-date with vaccines.  Keep them away from trash, spoiled food, or from eating dirt and soil. Do not allow your dog to eat feces of any kind or drink dirty “puddle” water, and if you plan on changing your dog’s diet, always do so very gradually. 

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Acute Sudden Diarrhea Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $100 - $2,000

Average Cost

$250

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Acute Sudden Diarrhea Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shepherd hound mix

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9-10 months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My dog was in my friends yard eating sticks yesterday. She pooped in the morning but then not again yesterday and today her poops are diarrhea like and her tummy feels a little firmer. I’m worried she may have a bowel obstruction.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Signs of a bowel obstruction would be vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and a lots of appetite. Your dog is showing any of these signs, then it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that all goes well for her!

Oct. 2, 2020

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Vizsla

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9.5 Years

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Unknown severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements. Fever. Threw Up Once. Lethargic

My dog has cushings disease abs is on no medication other than apoquel for her allergies. She woke me 4x last night with loose stools. She was moaning while pushing. Abs threw up just bile today

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that she is okay, and they you are were able to seek medical attention for her if needed.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Mix

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13.5 Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

My friend has 2 dogs,1 is 13.5 and other is younger. Saturday the older 1 had yellow mucus diarrhea. The 4th had red blood and Sunday and Monday was black tarry. The younger also started getting yellow diarrhea sunday, and Monday had diarrhea as well. I know it could be an upper GI bleed with the older 1 possibly, biliary, or gallbladder. He os still hydrating. Not eating. I used to work at a vet and it is oddthat they would both have the diarrhea with in days of one another. I dont want her to put him down if it is fixable

Aug. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I would not jump to euthanasia at this point, as there are treatments for a GI bleed, or for a parasite, or for dietary indiscretion. If you worked at a veterinary clinic in the past, you know the value of a good physical examination and a few inexpensive tests to determine the cause of this problem and get treatment. That would be the best idea for your friends dog, to have him seen by a veterinarian. I hope that all goes well, and that it is something simple and fixable.

Aug. 25, 2020

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dorky

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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Diarrhea

My dog is laying around and not eating much. He had projectile diarrhea today. Should I watch him for another day or go ahead and call the vet?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If he is not vomiting, and there is no blood in the diarrhea, you may be fine to feed him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for a couple of days and see if that helps. It's the diarrhea continues, or he is vomiting or there is blood on either end, then it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Michaela

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Goldendoodle

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6 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements

My puppy has had diarrhea off and on for a few weeks. We took her to the vet the first time and they gave her dog immodium and a shot to stop the diarrhea. Since that day 1-2 times a week she will randomly get diarrhea again. Last night it started and is just pouring out of her. Help! As far as we know she hasn’t gotten into anything. But she is getting really thin and it is scaring me

July 14, 2018

Michaela's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Since Michaela isn't responding to the medication as expected, it would be a good idea to have a recheck for her with your veterinarian. There are many causes of diarrhea, including parasites, dietary indiscretion, and infectious disease. They'll need to see what is going on with her to be able to treat her. In the meantime, puppies are GREAT at eating things that they shouldn't, so make sure that that isn't happening.

July 14, 2018

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Bella

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Pit Bull & English Pointer

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7 Months

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Nose Has Become Warm And Dry

Sudden onset of loose stools followed by straining and mucus stooling. No vomiting, no blood or coffee-ground appearance. At the same time; loss of appetite, whimpering at times, lethargic. Called the previous owner and found out that she only got her first round of puppy vaccines.

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Skye

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Labrador Retriever

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

We went away in January and left Skye with my sister and her family. She experienced over a week of constant liquid diarrhea (with straining, going out 15x a day). We called our vet and they said to put her on a rice/chicken/pumpkin diet. She was diagnosed with stress colitis which lasted 1.5 weeks. Fast-forward to late February when we had another week long bout, then, once again, suddenly better (the day of our vet appointment). She just started another round of diarrhea. She is straining, going 10+ times a day, but eating and drinking normally. She’s a bit subdued, but not enough that she’s not following me around like normal. I can’t pinpoint any changes that would cause this. Sincerely appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. The accidents at night are hard on both of us.

Acute Sudden Diarrhea Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $100 - $2,000

Average Cost

$250

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