The Truth About Runny Poo
Several factors can contribute to a sudden change in stool quality. Aside from illness or stress-related factors, reasons can include dietary indiscretions (sudden changes in diet, new treats or table scraps, getting into trash or eating toys, etc.) or parasites. It is important to contact your veterinarian right away if you know your pet consumed foreign material recently or is showing signs of lethargy, vomiting, or poor appetite.
HOWEVER, if your beloved fur-baby has come down with the runs but otherwise seems to be feeling okay, here are some tips that may help you deal with the worrisome symptoms of diarrhea.
First, stop feeding their normal diet and switch to a “bland” food until their intestinal tract seems back to normal. A “bland” diet can be a commercially prepared prescription diet (canned and dry available) which can be purchased from us, or something made on your own at home by boiling white rice and white meat chicken (at a ratio of 3:1) without seasonings, oil, or broth.
Second, bring in a stool sample for evaluation! Parasites are not uncommon in the area. Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can be controlled by keeping pets on a monthly heartworm preventative/parasite control product – another great reason for monthly preventatives year-round for all patients. Giardia is a common parasite that thrives in wet conditions and often poses a particular problem in the winter here. Unfortunately, the monthly heartworm preventatives will not prevent this nasty pathogen, which can cause diarrhea and even vomiting. It is easily screened for in our fecal analysis and treated with medications as needed.
Third, ask us about an appropriate probiotic for GI support. Sometimes we can even prescribe anti-diarrheal medications before the fecal test comes back if the case seems severe enough.
One final note: state law requires us to have conducted a physical exam within the year for us to prescribe medications based on a fecal test alone, so plan on scheduling an exam appointment if it’s been more than a year since your pet’s last visit.
And, as always, don’t hesitate to call us at 503-446-2450 if you have any concerns or questions. We’re here to help!