by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the September/October 2010 Claymore

I have not written about diarrhea before now because, frankly, the subject is too large and complicated to tackle in a monthly column. That is partly because diarrhea is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of disease. The list of diseases that can have diarrhea as part of the picture would itself fill many pages of this magazine.

Given the plethora of causes for diarrhea, where should an owner or veterinarian begin when presented with a dog having diarrhea? Intuitively, the best chance of ending an episode of diarrhea is to identify the underlying disease and treat it. For that reason, diagnostic tests are often part of the initial response to diarrhea. But while diagnostic tests are often helpful, one can also treat diarrhea directly, without knowing the cause. How a dog responds to treatment can provide a valuable clue to the cause of the diarrhea. This month’s column deals with an example of this approach. Read more