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Q. Wants to go out very frequently. Has fecal matter attached to anus but won't let me remove it. She won't sleep and wants to stay on my lap.

Answered By
DR. CHRISTIE LONG, D.V.M., C.V.A.

A. So I'm hearing a couple of problems going on. Frequent defecation with diarrhea (I'm assuming, since there's fecal matter attached and the anus, and typically it only "sticks" when it's soft) and lethargy/clinginess. Pretty general signs, however let's focus on the diarrhea and assume it's a GI thing. You didn't tell me whether this is a cat or dog but I'll assume dog since you said she goes outside to defecate.

Diarrhea may or may not be a sign of a serious disease. I don't get especially concerned with one or two episodes in an animal who seems to feel completely normally otherwise, but what you're describing sounds concerning. Your dog is restless, can't get comfortable, and is somewhat needy - all of those indicate discomfort to me.

Without knowing how old your dog is it's pretty difficult to get specific about causes, but I'll mention some possibilities. Certainly parasites, including giardia, can cause diarrhea, as well as bacterial or viral infections in the gut. Indiscriminate eating, which dogs are master of, can cause diarrhea. Food allergies or sensitivities as well as inflammatory bowel disease are on the list. More serious causes include liver, kidney, or pancreatic disease, as well as intestinal cancers.

I'm hoping this has only been going on for a little while. You can try feeding a bland/high-fiber diet of boiled white meat chicken and white rice (25% chicken and 75% rice) in small (1/4 to 1/2 cup) amounts frequently (every two hours). If the diarrhea doesn't resolve in 12 hours see a veterinarian. If she's vomiting or won't eat at all, see a vet sooner.


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