Dog Diarrhea Diagnosis

Dog diarrhea refers to loose or excessive stool, and sometimes an increased frequency in bowel movements. While canine diarrhea is an unpleasant and often painful condition, it is not an isolated medical situation. Dog diarrhea always occurs as a result of a complicating or underlying disease or condition. It will usually be readily apparent that a dog is suffering from diarrhea. What is much less obvious, however, is why. The job of a veterinarian who is making a diagnosis of the condition, therefore, is primarily to identify the source of your pet's condition.

Symptoms of Canine Diarrhea

If your dog is suffering from diarrhea, pay careful attention and note any of the following symptoms:

  • Black or tarry stool
  • Blood in stool
  • Pale gums and tongue
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

These symptoms are all associated with canine diarrhea, and can be helpful in isolating the source of your pet's condition. When you take your pet to the veterinarian for further examination and diagnosis, have a complete list of the other symptoms that you have noticed, as well as their severity and time frame.

Small and Large Intestine Diarrhea

The first step toward diagnosing your pet's diarrhea is determining the source of the problem within his body. Your vet will ask questions about the frequency of his bowel movements, the presence of mucous or blood in the stool, the overall volume of the stool and other factors in order to determine first whether the diarrhea is originating in the small or the large intestine. As a general rule, diseases of the large intestine tend to be indicated by blood in the stool and frequent bowel movements, while diseases of the small intestine are more likely to be indicated by high volumes of stool that is black in color.

Diagnostic Exams

Once he has an idea of the origin of your pet's diarrhea in the body, your veterinarian will conduct a series of tests to determine the root of the condition. A fecal flotation test is helpful in determining whether the diarrhea is bacteria- or parasite-based, while a series of blood tests and x-rays might also be necessary as well.

Your veterinarian will also use your dog's medical history and pre-existing medical conditions in his diagnosis. For instance, if your dog has a known allergy to a food or inhalant, your vet will investigate the possibility of an allergic reaction.

While diarrhea is a relatively common condition, and most dogs suffer from bouts of diarrhea throughout their lives, chronic and persistent diarrhea is often the sign of a serious underlying health condition. Diarrhea can also lead to dangerous conditions like dehydration in and of itself, and it is important to diagnose diarrhea and treat it as quickly as possible. With your prompt response and careful attention, your pet will regain his typical health and way of life.