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Diarrhoea








or looseness of the bowels, or purging, is a very common disease among
dogs of all ages and breeds. It is, nevertheless, more common among
puppies about three or four months old, and among dogs who have
reached the age of from seven to ten years. It is often symptomatic of
other ailments.

Causes--Very numerous. In weakly dogs exposure alone will produce
it. The weather, too, has no doubt much to do with the production of
diarrhoea. In most kennels it is more common in the months of July and
August, although it often comes on in the very dead of winter. Puppies,
if overfed, will often be seized with this troublesome complaint. A
healthy puppy hardly ever knows when it has had enough, and it will,
moreover, stuff itself with all sorts of garbage; acidity of the
stomach follows, with vomiting of the ingesta, and diarrhoea succeeds,
brought on by the acrid condition of the chyme, which finds its way
into the duodenum. This stuff would in itself act as a purgative, but
it does more, it abnormally excites the secretions of the whole
alimentary canal, and a sort of sub-acute mucous inflammation is set
up. The liver; too, becomes mixed up with the mischief, throws out a
superabundance of bile, and thus aids in keeping up the diarrhoea.

Among other causes, we find the eating of indigestible food, drinking
foul or tainted water, too much green food, raw paunches, foul kennels,
and damp, draughty kennels.

Symptoms--The purging is, of course, the principal symptom, and the
stools are either quite liquid or semi-fluid, bilious-looking,
dirty-brown or clay-coloured, or mixed with slimy mucus. In some cases
they resemble dirty water. Sometimes, as already said, a little blood
will be found in the dejection, owing to congestion of the mucous
membrane from liver obstruction. In case there be blood in the stools,
a careful examination is always necessary in order to ascertain the
real state of the patient. Blood, it must be remembered, might come
from piles or polypi, or it might be dysenteric, and proceed from
ulceration of the rectum and colon. In the simplest form of diarrhoea,
unless the disease continues for a long time, there will not be much
wasting, and the appetite will generally remain good but capricious.

In bilious diarrhoea, with large brown fluid stools and complete loss
of appetite, there is much thirst, and in a few days the dog gets
rather thin, although nothing like so rapidly as in the emaciation of
distemper.

The Treatment will, it need hardly be said, depend upon the cause,
but as it is generally caused by the presence in the intestine of some
irritating matter, we can hardly err by administering a small dose of
castor oil, combining with it, if there be much pain--which you can
tell by the animal's countenance--from 5 to 20 or 30 drops of laudanum,
or of the solution of the muriate of morphia. This in itself will
often suffice to cut short an attack. The oil is preferable to rhubarb,
but the latter may be tried--the simple, not the compound powder--dose
from 10 grains to 2 drachms in bolus.

It the diarrhoea should continue next day, proceed cautiously--remember
there is no great hurry, and a sudden check to diarrhoea is at times
dangerous--to administer dog doses of the aromatic chalk and opium
powder, or give the following medicine three times a day: Compound
powdered catechu, 1 grain to 10; powdered chalk with opium, 3 grains
to 30. Mix. If the diarrhoea still continues, good may accrue from a
trial of the following mixture: Laudanum, 5 to 30 drops; dilute
sulphuric acid, 2 to 15 drops; in camphor water.

This after every liquid motion, or, if the motions may not be observed,
three times a day. If blood should appear in the stools give the
following: Kino powder, 1 to 10 grains; powder ipecac., 1/4 to 3
grains; powdered opium 1/2 to 2 grains. This may be made into a bolus
with any simple extract, and given three times a day.

The food is of importance. The diet should be changed; the food
requires to be of a non-stimulating kind, no meat being allowed, but
milk and bread, sago, or arrowroot or rice, etc. The drink either pure
water, with a pinch or two of chlorate and nitrate of potash in it, or
patent barley-water if the dog will take it.

The bed must be warm and clean, and free from draughts, and, in all
cases of diarrhoea, one cannot be too particular with the cleanliness
and disinfection of the kennels.





Next: Constipation

Previous: Bronchitis



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