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  • Diarrhea Every 2-3 weeks... Help

    Hi All,

    I am a lurker who tries to use the forum as a reference, have been a member for almost 10 years.

    I am posting because I'm a little bit at my wits end with my 9.5 yr old Dane.

    About 6-8 mths ago he started getting diarrhea every 2-3 weeks. His diet hasn't changed in years, only addition within the last year was some pill pockets to help get the glucosamine and fish oil tablets down.

    His food is the blue bag from Costco, the generic for the taste of the wild. He's been on that and before that taste of the wild for years. Mornings he gets some apple cider vinegar in his food. Not much the way of treats, but when he does it's another grain free kibble that I can't remember the name of.

    I brought him to the vet and she looked at some X-rays from the previous year and talked to me about the diarrhea and he sometimes pees while walking and doesn't know it. She said his vertebrae are starting to basically grow together and it is making him lose some nerve control. She suggested either chiropractic, laser, or acupuncture treatment.

    Well, I think that makes sense for his peeing, because he doesn't know he's doing it. But the diarrhea he knows it's coming and wakes me up. All night. For 2-4 days every 2-3 weeks or so.

    Any thoughts? Yes he's 9.5, but he's actually still pretty active and able to go on walks for up to 3 miles if it's not too hot...
    **Lindsey and Zinn**

  • #2
    When Kumah was growing up (from 8 weeks until 1.5 years) I fed her blue buffalo, she would have random bouts of diarrhea for about 3-5 days straight. Nothing worked to stop the diarrhea except going to the vet and getting a week's worth of prescription food. These random bouts of diarrhea would come and go every month or so. As soon as I switched her to raw, the diarrhea stopped. She was raw fed for a little over a year and now is back on kibble. I feed her Fromm Gold large breed and she has not had any diarrhea on this food and has been on it for about 6 months.
    The point of my story is that just because he has been on the same food for a long time doesn't necessarily rule it out as the cause for the diarrhea. Is the diarrhea super runny or pasty? Is there ever blood in it? When did it start and how many days does it last? Could there be some sort of underlying cause medically?
    ~Kelsey, mom to~
    Kumah-merle Great Dane 4 years
    Nala-fawn Great Dane 2 months
    Cece- Calico 4 years
    Sammy- Black Domestic Long Hair 3 years
    Tyke- 4 months

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    • #3
      Yes, I'm wondering if in his old age it's getting harder for him to digest. What confuses me about that is that it isn't all of the time, it comes seemingly randomly although there might be a pattern I am missing.

      Is the diarrhea super runny or pasty? Is there ever blood in it?
      - Yes and yes, and sometimes yes towards the end.

      Basically he starts out with a normal poop, then seems to need to go the bathroom shortly thereafter which is not normal for him. That is generally mostly solid, but moving towards softer.

      Once the diarrhea starts full blown, it starts thicker and gets thinner as it continues. I believe there has been some redness towards the end once or twice.


      When did it start and how many days does it last? Could there be some sort of underlying cause medically?

      I believe it started about 6 mths ago. He's always had tummy issues, but normally because he find a sock to swallow. No matter how hard I tried to keep him away from them, he usually found a roommate's sock about twice a year and had diarrhea until he passed that.

      In the last 6 mths, the diarrhea has been more often and with no obvious cause--aka no swallowed socks.

      It usually last 2-4 days or so...Hard to tell because sometimes it seems to go away for about 12-18 hrs but then comes back full force--like last night.

      My vet believes its the vertebrae thing, but based on how she described that issue to me, it would mean he doesn't know he's going....that's what has started to happen to him sometimes when he's walking and peeing in the house and doesn't know it. He clearly has no idea he's peeing. But with the diarrhea he wakes me up, so he knows.

      So yea, just looking for other ideas...Thank you!
      **Lindsey and Zinn**

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      • #4
        My senior Dane started doing that at about 7 years old. She'd be normal for a while, and then she'd have diarrhea and have to go every hour, round the clock for a few days, then she'd be normal again. We had a lot of tests and nothing ever showed as abnormal.

        She had Wobbler's syndrome, which is a problem with the cervical vertebrae, but that did not cause the diarrhea and I don't agree with your vet that it's the vertebrae causing the diarrhea. It is likely the cause of the pee accidents though.

        I switched my girl to a limited ingredient kibble and it helped a lot, although it still continued to happen occasionally during the last year of her life.

        Unfortunately, I think it's just a sign of aging and all you can really do is try to manage it as best you can.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lmbcr22 View Post
          Yes, I'm wondering if in his old age it's getting harder for him to digest. What confuses me about that is that it isn't all of the time, it comes seemingly randomly although there might be a pattern I am missing.

          Is the diarrhea super runny or pasty? Is there ever blood in it?
          - Yes and yes, and sometimes yes towards the end.

          Basically he starts out with a normal poop, then seems to need to go the bathroom shortly thereafter which is not normal for him. That is generally mostly solid, but moving towards softer.

          Once the diarrhea starts full blown, it starts thicker and gets thinner as it continues. I believe there has been some redness towards the end once or twice.


          When did it start and how many days does it last? Could there be some sort of underlying cause medically?

          I believe it started about 6 mths ago. He's always had tummy issues, but normally because he find a sock to swallow. No matter how hard I tried to keep him away from them, he usually found a roommate's sock about twice a year and had diarrhea until he passed that.

          In the last 6 mths, the diarrhea has been more often and with no obvious cause--aka no swallowed socks.

          It usually last 2-4 days or so...Hard to tell because sometimes it seems to go away for about 12-18 hrs but then comes back full force--like last night.

          My vet believes its the vertebrae thing, but based on how she described that issue to me, it would mean he doesn't know he's going....that's what has started to happen to him sometimes when he's walking and peeing in the house and doesn't know it. He clearly has no idea he's peeing. But with the diarrhea he wakes me up, so he knows.

          So yea, just looking for other ideas...Thank you!
          Anything cyclical like this would make me suspect Giardia. Ask your vet to make sure she/he tested for it as it isn't necessarily one of the routine suspects, so to speak. Zoomer had it, and may still have it for all I know (despite multiple treatments) but if he does he is now asymptomatic. I will probably have him tested again soon, just out of curiosity. There are some that think Giardia is much more common than previously thought, and healthy adult dogs just adapt to it or are unaffected/asymptomatic.

          Secondly, if further testing is inconclusive, I would consider a bland homecooked diet for a senior Dane. I would rather spend time each week (and I did, for about 3 months) cooking up a big batch of homecooked food than having my quality of life ruined for days each month. Hope you find some answers - good luck!
          -Lisa (Zoomer's mom)

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          • #6
            Some progress

            So, thanks for the tips guys. I went back to the vet and she did agree that it was not the vertebrae thing, she thinks that does explain when he pees while walking, but not the diarrhea.

            We are now on IAMS Vet Formula...I know NOTHING about this food other than it's expensive. If anyone has advice, alternative suggested foods, etc I'm all ears. My costco generic Taste of the Wild was so much less expensive, I'm having sticker shock.

            She did do a fecal and tested for Giardiam, whip worms, hook worms, round worms, and intestinal parasites. All came back negative, so that's good.

            My poor old man. It's so hard watching them age. If I have to start home cooking I will, but for now trying to see if the new kibble does what it's supposed to do.
            **Lindsey and Zinn**

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            • #7
              The Iams is full of fillers, so it usually will help diarrhea. It's a poor quality food, honestly, but sometimes, older dogs can have problems with better, richer, more meat-based foods. You definitely can get the same quality food for about a third of the cost of any Iams vet formula. Find any two or three star, grain inclusive food on dogfoodadvisor.com and that would be about the same. I would recommend a four star, grain inclusive kibble.
              Tracy
              sigpic
              Mouse April 2010
              Echo -- run free, Sweetie! Jan 9, 2007 - April 24, 2014 Lost to osteosarcoma at 7 years, 3 months. RIP.

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              • #8
                Thank you! I had not looked into this specific IAMS, but generally have not been impressed with their food, so was planning to look around. Just called the Vet for parameters on a comparable food on Friday. Will use your tips too.
                **Lindsey and Zinn**

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