Does your dog suffer from chronic diarrhea or loose stools? Sometimes, it's tempting to dismiss this problem and figure it's just the way your dog is going to be. But there is almost always an underlying health problem that is causing the loose stools, and ignoring that is not doing your dog any favors. In most cases, your vet will work with you to figure out the cause of the loose stools and come up with the best treatment plan. Here are some of the possibilities your vet is likely to explore.
Often, diarrhea in dogs is a sign of food allergies or food sensitivities. It's hard to narrow down exactly what a dog might be allergic to. However, you can gain a lot of insight by switching to a limited ingredient dog food, as recommended by your vet. A dog food with just three or four ingredients is less likely to contain something that your dog is allergic to than one with 20 different ingredients. Usually, these limited ingredient foods are made without chicken, corn, soy, and the other items to which dogs are most often allergic. If your dog's stool quality improves after switching foods, then you can assume you've found the problem.
Lack of Gut Bacteria
Like humans, dogs have beneficial bacteria in their intestines that are meant to help them digest and absorb certain nutrients. If the levels of these bacteria fall too low, the dog may develop diarrhea and loose stools. This is common in dogs who have been on antibiotics for long periods of time, and in those who have been rescued from neglectful situations. Your vet may recommend a probiotic supplement to increase your dog's levels of healthy gut bacteria. If a lack of gut bacteria is contributing to the diarrhea, you should start to see an improvement within a couple of weeks.
In humans, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are two autoimmune conditions in which the immune system attacks the gut lining, leading to chronic diarrhea along with other symptoms. Dogs can develop similar autoimmune conditions. Your vet can administer a blood test to look for elevated levels of certain antibodies that would indicate this type of condition is at play. If tests do indicate a possible autoimmune disease, your vet may prescribe immunosuppressants or steroids to keep the symptoms under control.
It's not always easy to figure out what is causing a dog's chronic diarrhea, but if you work with your vet, you can get some answers.
To learn more, contact a vet clinic like Clovis Veterinary Hospital P A.