Diarrhea in Siberian Husky puppies
There is nothing more frustrating than to have your puppy constantly eliminate soft stools in your house or yard. Most diarrhea issues can be improved or solved with a visit to the veterinarian, which includes a parasite examination of the stool. If the parasite exam is positive, a series of treatments may be needed to kill the parasite and the feces may return to normal (see article on internal parasites). However, there are situations in which the fecal exam will be negative and the diarrhea persists. The rest of this article will discuss puppies with diarrhea that are parasite negative on exam.
The most common reason why puppies have diarrhea that is either chronic or intermittent is related to diet. Puppy foods contain a variety of protein and carbohydrate sources that may cause gastrointestinal sensitivity in certain puppies. The easiest way to test your puppy for food sensitivity is to simply switch the brand slowly. If you are feeding a chicken based food, switch to a lamb and rice based food of another brand. If you are feeding a grocery brand food, switch to a premium food found at pet retail stores. A puppy should not have a bowel movement over 3 times a day. Feeding a premium puppy food (Iams, Eukanuba, Fromm, Innova, Science Diet, etc.) will increase the digestibility of the food and decrease the amount of stool formed. Some puppies do very well on a low residue diet such as Eukanuba Low Residue for Puppies (through veterinarians only). Also, be very careful of treats feed to puppies. Treats should be as natural as possible without the addition of dyes and artificial colors and flavors, especially with diarrhea.
Treatment of diarrhea at home includes the addition of rice to the food and the use of stool formers such as liquid Kaopectate (never use tablet Kaopectate). The dosage is based upon the weight of the puppy – call your vet for the proper dose for your size puppy. Also, plain yogurt has been used as a pro biotic.
Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help treat the diarrhea, such as metrondiazole (Flagyl), sulfasalazine, antibiotics, and Tylosin. Also, your vet will probably test the stool for protozoan parasites such as Giardia. A fecal culture may be taken if the diarrhea has blood. In severe cases of diarrhea, especially with a lack of weight gain, digestion testing and a blood panel may be needed.
In the Siberian, an immune related condition called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is being reported more frequently as a cause of chronic diarrhea in puppies and young adult dogs. This is a gastrointestinal disorder that includes chronic signs of diarrhea with or without vomiting. There is a general consensus that a hypersensitivity reaction is occurring to antigens or substances in the bowel. The diarrhea may be intermittent, with normal feces and abnormal feces occurring at different times. In severe cases, abdominal pain, weight loss, and lack of appetite may occur. The definitive diagnosis can only be made through an intestinal biopsy, but the veterinarian may treat the puppy based on clinical signs and suggest a biopsy when the puppy gets older or at the time of spaying or neutering. The standard treatment for this disease includes the feeding of a hypoallergenic diet such as venison and potato, rabbit and potato, fish and potato, turkey, or Science Diet Z/D. Combination drugs such as metrondiazole and prednisone are also used long term. This disease can get better as the puppy ages and most puppies can be treated successfully with a diet change and medication.
Be sure to take your puppy to a veterinarian if diarrhea is not controlled through a diet change or basic home treatment.