Diarrhea can originate from the small intestine or the large intestine, two separate areas of the digestive tract. Large intestine diarrhea is referred to as "colitis" and is a separate problem

SUDDEN DIARRHEA - small intestine

This problem comes on acutely and usually lasts no longer than 48 hours (2 days). The stool rarely contains any mucus (slimy looking material). Poor appetite often accompanies this problem. Increased frequency to defecate with urgency is typically seen.

CHRONIC DIARRHEA - small intestine

Long-term loose stool is when the problem lasts longer than a week. The frequency is normal but when the pet defecates it will produce a large amount of watery stool. Urgency is not typically seen. Mucus  is still not usually present. The color of the stool may be brown or if there is blood it may take on a blackish color.

Diarrhea can be caused by many different factors:

  1. Infection
  2. Worms
  3. Eating spoiled food (raiding the garbage, etc.)
  4. Eating new or unusual foods (fatty leftovers from the table, etc.)
  5. Stress
  6. Poisoning
  7. Liver or pancreas disease

For those pets that do not respond to symptomatic medication (Pepto-Bismol or Kao-Pectate in a child's dosage) the doctor may need to know the cause of the diarrhea for successful treatment. Fecal tests, blood evaluations and x-rays are often necessary to identify the more serious causes of diarrhea.


It may be necessary to withhold all food for 1-2 days. Do not exceed this period without instructions from the doctor. Give water during the fasting period. The fast will not harm the pet. On occasion hospitalization is necessary, especially if fluid injections are required.

  1. Feed small amounts of food more frequently rather than one or two larger meals.
  2. Feed a highly digestible food with 1 % or less of fiber.
    SENSITIVE for the dog and MODIFIED for the cat satisfies the specific requirements for diarrhea control.
  3. A home cooked ration of 50% boiled rice / 50% lean ground beef or turkey.
  4. Give any and all medication prescribed by the doctor.


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