Jump to section

What is Diarrhea (Long-term)?

Diarrhea is not a disease itself, but a symptom of illness or underlying disease. The increase of the passage of loose stool can come on as an acute episode, or be a chronic occurrence. Diarrhea also means a decrease in the bodily absorption of water, electrolytes, and required nutrients. How serious the illness is will be determined by how long the diarrhea has been going on, and what symptoms accompany it.

Diarrhea is a very common ailment for canines, and can range from a mild case to very severe. Described as frequent, liquid stools, diarrhea can be secondary to serious illnesses such as cancer, or milder causes like an intestinal infection. If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, consult a veterinary caregiver. If treatment is required to resolve the issue, and it is not started soon enough, the situation can quickly escalate to dangerous, due to dehydration and nutrient loss.

Diarrhea (Long-term) Average Cost

From 86 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of Diarrhea (Long-term) in Dogs

The symptoms of diarrhea may vary according to whether the episode is of an acute nature, or whether your canine companion is having a chronic problem. If the diarrhea lasts more than a day or two, or if your dog really looks unwell, contact the veterinarian without delay.

  • Dehydration
  • Watery Stool
  • Explosive stool
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Urgency of bowel movements
  • Straining to defecate
  • Accidents indoors
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Fever
  • Listlessness and weakness
  • Fluid accumulation in legs, abdomen or chest
  • Weight loss
  • Dull and brittle fur
  • Vomiting
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Low appetite
  • Depression
Types

Diarrhea is typically classified in two ways.

  • Small bowel/small intestinal diarrhea
    • Stool is typically passed in large amounts 3 to 5 times per day
    • Is caused by an irritation to or damage of the stomach or small intestine
    • There may be accompanying vomiting and weight loss
    • There is no difficulty passing the stool
    • Gas may be heard
    • Blood of a black color may be seen in stool
  • Large bowel/large intestinal diarrhea
    • Stool is usually passed more than five times a day in small amounts
    • Involves damage or irritation to the colon or large intestine
    • The presence of vomiting is not usual, nor is weight loss
    • There may be straining to pass the stool
    • If blood is present, it will be red
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Diarrhea (Long-term) in Dogs

The causes of diarrhea can be numerous and range from mild to serious. Some causes are more easily treated than others, and the regimen for resolving the problem can be more involved. Do not delay if your canine companion is ill with diarrhea. Solving the problem, and getting your pet back to good health will be faster and more successful with prompt care.

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine coronavirus
  • Irritable bowel disease (though diarrhea is not breed specific, the Basenji, for example, is genetically prone to IBD)
  • Systemic illness
  • Allergies
  • Whipworms or parasites
  • Giardia
  • Liver, kidney or pancreatic disease
  • Eating spoiled food or other garbage
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Ingestion of a foreign body such as a stick or bones that could become lodged in the intestine
  • Dietary change, poor diet, or high-fat diet
  • Sensitivity of the digestive tract
  • Toxins like lead or insecticides
  • Tumors or polyps
  • Stress, such as may occur when boarding, or when the home environment changes
  • Cancer
  • Infection caused by virus, bacteria, or fungus
  • Medication side effects
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Diarrhea (Long-term) in Dogs

When you bring your dog to the clinic, the veterinary team members will be ready to assess the condition of your pet. Be ready to provide as much relevant information as possible. The veterinarian may ask the following questions.

  • How long has the diarrhea been affecting your pet?
  • Is his condition worsening, or staying about the same?
  • Has your dog had access to garbage or spoiled food?
  • Is there a presence of blood or mucus, and what color is the blood?
  • Can you tell us anything about behavioral changes such as activity level or appetite?

If possible, it'll greatly aid the diagnosis if you are able to bring a stool sample to the clinic. The veterinarian will want to test for illnesses such as parvovirus. A stool sample analysis can also point to a parasitic infection if that is the case.

A complete blood count, electrolyte panel, and urinalysis will be done. This helps the diagnosis because bloodwork is a great indicator of how well your dog’s organs are functioning. Results of these tests may also indicate if there is an infection of a bacterial, fungal, or viral type.

Radiographs, sometimes done with a barium contrast, can indicate abnormalities in the intestines. Further diagnostic imaging may include ultrasound or endoscopy. An endoscopy will be done under general anesthetic. Endoscopy through the mouth will show the condition of the stomach and intestine. Done through the rectum, the procedure can show the colon and large intestines, which may show signs of damage, cancer, or polyps.

A biopsy of the small intestine or large intestine may be recommended. It must be noted that a biopsy of the large intestine must be done surgically. If warranted, your veterinarian may suggest getting the opinion of an internal medicine specialist.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Diarrhea (Long-term) in Dogs

Treatment protocols will always begin with treating any underlying illnesses or diseases that may be affecting your furry canine friend. This is paramount to resolving the diarrhea.

If your dog is very sick or dehydrated when you arrive at the clinic, hospitalization could be how the treatment commences. Intravenous therapy is the best way to stabilize your pet and return system levels to normal ranges.

If there is a presence of bacteria or worms, appropriate medication will be prescribed in the form of antibiotics or deworming drugs. Antidiarrheal medicine could be given, or depending on the cause; there may be the administration of medications to control the motility (movement) of food through the intestine.

Some protocols can be followed at home, with the direction and support of your veterinarian. For example, acute small intestinal diarrhea can be treated by withholding food for 12 to 48 hours (but never water). If the diarrhea stops, you can slowly reintroduce bland foods such as rice, potatoes, chicken, or cottage cheese in small portions 3 to 6 times per day. The veterinary caregiver can also prescribe a commercial intestinal diet.

Large intestinal diarrhea may be resolved with a high fiber diet, combined with anti-inflammatory drugs.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Diarrhea (Long-term) in Dogs

Keep the veterinary team up to date on the recovery of your canine family member. Improvement in the diarrhea should be seen within a day or two. If your pet is not getting better, a change of treatment may be necessary. Perhaps additional medication is needed, or further testing is required. Chronic diarrhea could necessitate lifetime dietary management or medication.

Taking care to keep your pet away from garbage, unsuitable foodstuffs, and items that may look like fun to ingest or chew is important. Do not make sudden dietary changes, or feed your dog table scraps. As well, regular visits to the veterinary clinic (for example, to check for parasites or worms) are part of the preventative measures you should take against the recurrence of diarrhea.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Diarrhea (Long-term) Average Cost

From 86 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

arrow-up-icon

Top

Diarrhea (Long-term) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

mix

dog-age-icon

9 months

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

my dog has had diarrhea now for two or three months but is perfectly fine apart from this. what could this be??

Aug. 22, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello Diarrhea can be caused by intestinal parasites (worms), an infection or some type of food intolerance. I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. They will want to perform diagnostic tests to find out what is going on. Good luck.

Aug. 22, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Mix breed

dog-age-icon

Fifteen Years

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

Diarria eats and drinks ,very little ,arthritis,sleeps most of the day ,looks tired

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, and I'm sorry that your pet is not feeling well. From your description, it sounds like they really need to see a veterinarian to see what might be going on, and see if there are treatments that might help. I hope that your pet is okay.

Aug. 5, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Miniature American Shepherd

dog-age-icon

One Year

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Vomiting

We went in a trip to Vegas for a week and left my dog in the kennel he had his food there for most of the time. We picked him up and he seems energetic happy. But he is having pure liquid BM, as well as occasional vomiting could this be caused by stress similar to travelers naseu, when should I become concerned?

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Ellen M. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear that your dog isn't feeling well! This certainly could be triggered by the stress of boarding, but could also be caused by him eating something he wasn't supposed to, intestinal parasites, or a number of other things. Stress colitis is quite common after dogs have been boarded, but it does need to be medically addressed. I would recommend calling your veterinarian and letting them know what is going on. They may recommend a physical exam to make sure that he is not becoming too dehydrated from the vomiting and diarrhea, and they may be able to give him some medication to help with the nausea and diarrhea. In the meantime, if you feed him, I recommend only feeding a bland diet such as boiled chicken and rice, and no treats. I hope that your dog starts feeling better soon!

Aug. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Listless

She was on metronidazole n endsorb which she finished. She is listless . She’s eating n drinking. No energy

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If the metronidazole and endosorb helped her diarrhea, it may just take some time for her to feel better again. It is difficult for me to say because I don't know anything else about her situation, or how long this has been going on. If you are concerned that she seems lethargic or quiet, or her diarrhea is not improving, then it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, as they know more about her situation and can let you know is there are other treatments that might be needed. I hope that she feels better soon.

Aug. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian dachshund

dog-age-icon

Fourteen Years

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My dog has had diarrhea that started almost a month ago that was pretty severe and lasted 1 week... I started her on a fast followed by anti diarrhea meds and a chicken and rice diet and it worked!!! 2 weeks later, after starting her regular soft food again, diarrhea happened again! Started her on a fast with chicken and rice again it worked... Maybe a week later the diarrhea started up again despite her still being on a chicken and rice diet and anti diarrhea meds are NO longer working... what is going on??

July 20, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If fasting and a bland diet is not resolving the problem, it is time to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her, see what might be going on, do any testing needed, and get treatment for her. Simple GI upsets are typically resolved with the treatment that you have done, and when that doesn't work, it's time to see a veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 20, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Rudy

dog-breed-icon

Bernese Mountain Dog

dog-age-icon

9 Months

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

Rudy has been an energetic and happy puppy. He has also had a problem with loose stools/diarrhea for the past 5 months. My wife and I have brought him to 2 different vets; one of which gave him metronidazole which was working while he was on the medication. The second he finished the meds, the diarrhea would start up again. We then switched vets because the original one would just continue to give him the metronidazole and not try to figure out what was the main issue. With the new vet, we had allergy tests done which came back positive for beef, barley, flax, and peas but were not serious allergies. He had multiple stool samples tested which came back negative for parasites. We then got a limited ingredient food for him which worked sometimes but then eventually the diarrhea would start again. We then began giving Rudy distilled water which worked for about a month where he was having solid stools. Just recently he started having diarrhea constantly (waking up multiple times throughout the night). He usually would not poop during the day and once it was night would have excessive diarrhea. He doesn't get into any garbage or other objects/food that would upset his stomach. He eats a normal amount and drinks a normal amount so I don't know where to go from here.

dog-name-icon

Freya

dog-breed-icon

Siberian Husky

dog-age-icon

15 Weeks

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My 15 week old Siberian husky purebred has had diarrhea going on about a week now my vet can’t get her in immediately unless it’s an emergency liquid stool brown no blood or anything she has been happy and playful no pain or discomfort no vomiting or anything else. I gave her a dose of Pepto and her stool firmed tenporarily the food the breeder fed her isn’t available in my region she has been on diamond natural puppy with pumpkin purée added with no effectual change. Is it possible she is having a hard time with the food shift and would probiotics help?

dog-name-icon

Dixie

dog-breed-icon

Rottweiler

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Red Blood In Stool
Long Term Watery Diarrhea
Severe Thirst

Hi my one year old Rottweiler grand puppy has been having diarrhea for several months. Nothing seems to help it, she does see the vet regularly and they have tried chicken/rice diet as well as pure pumpkin switched to food for sensitive stomach. She doesn’t seem sick as she is active,and happy. She seems thin and always hungry, and thirsty. Today my son called and said she had red blood in her diarrhea last night and this morning. They are seeing their vet tonight. What Could be her issue?

dog-name-icon

Rainee

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Poop
Acting Normal
Yellow Poop
Poops Once Or Twice A Day

My beagle mix is 9 years old and had bloody diarrhea a couple months ago. I do not know if this is coincidental but this happened right after we gave her a panacur and for 2 weeks ago she had lethargy and very watery mucous like yellow feces followed later by red tarry poop. We took her to the vet and they gave us some antibiotics and told us she must have just gotten into something, they said that she may have pyrometra or worms but the UV they did said that those were not the issues. This goes away for a couple months with my dog happier and more energetic. Skip to current time and she has it back again but much different. As I stated before she was tired and had panting vomit with much more poop. But now she is still energetic and the poop appears to be yellow watery with some lumps in it and it will occasionally have blood in it but not near as much. The only symptom that I've seen is yellowy mucousy water feces but as much as that she acts fine eats fine and she will only poop this about once/twice a day. I should mention she likes to get into scraps alot and with all the food laying around she occasionally gets into it and it makes her a little sick so maybe thats the problem. We also give her Purina and when we gave chicken and rice it firmed up then no poop came for a couple days then right back to water. Eventually we found a medicine that cured it but now its back again. We don't have much money for the vet but we need quite a bit of help. Just lucky she doesn't seem to be in distress or anything like before.

dog-name-icon

Rainee

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Stool
Acting Normal
Yellow Diarrhea
Blood In Poop Occassionally

Hello, I am curious about my dogs health as she has had some issues with watery diarrhea for a while now. So a couple of months ago my beagle mix had some very bad issues with watery diarrhea and it appeared very watery and mucous like and after a while it was bloody/tarry. This happened after we gave our dog a panacur dewormer, as we suspected she had some worms in the stool Our vet gave us some meds and said that she must have just gotten into something bad, they first assumed she had pyrometra or worms, but they did an UV and both came up negative. The diarrhea luckily went away for a while after that incident and we used these gold meal supplements that helped for a while. Skip to a couple months now and its back but its much different now. Back then I would have to wake up 5 times or so to walk her but now its mucousy with occasional blood in the poop. She acts normal and plays and the poop appears yellow. We have tried many medicines that worked for a while but it came back anyway. I don't see what's wrong as my dog is primarily inside and we walk her quite a bit. One thing odd that I noticed is that she seems to get into a lot of scraps at points and gets sick around those times and also when I give her the bland chicken and rice it helps the poop for a while and come back but her regular food(Purina) seems to not make this any better either. As far as I'm concerned she's quite happy and acts normal with no symptoms except the poop now. If someone could give me clarity on this I would much enjoy it, we don't have much money for the vet but we are trying our hardest.

Diarrhea (Long-term) Average Cost

From 86 quotes ranging from $500 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,200

How can we help your pet?