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Bloody diarrhea in small dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Maltese
Age: Less than 3 mon
I recently purchased a new Maltese puppy. When we brought him home he had some bloody diarrhea. I need to mention that my husband is in the service and we are currently stationed in South Korea. I took the new puppy to a Korean vet who performed a second parvo test (the puppy had one done the night we got him) and it was negative. He didn't know what was wrong with him, but gave him 2 shots of medicine and a shot of nutrients. We had a language barrier so Im not really sure what he gave him, and I got no record of anything other than a credit card receipt. The diarrhea continued and then the next day my 2 year old Maltese had diarrhea as well (no blood). This time we took them to the military vet who ran a fecal floatation test on both of them and couldn't find anything. They also tested the new puppy a third time for parvo and it was negative. The vet sent me home with Albon for the puppy and Metronidazole and Albon for my 2 year old. Yesterday the puppy seemed better, he was eating and drinking okay. His stool was loose, but there was no blood. He did develop a hacking cough though. My two year old dog hasn't eaten anything besdies about 2 small treats(for 3 days now) and now today the puppy doesn't want to eat either. What should I do?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Terri...Sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time with your dogs!

I understand how hard a language barrier can be as I work with a lot of foreign diplomats. We can often communicate about most things but medical terms can be difficult!

Generally when we see diarrhea in a puppy we think of viruses (such as parvo), parasites, diet change or stress. A parvo test is usually quite good at picking up parvo so most likely this is not what we are dealing with.

The Albon that you got is in case there is coccidia present which is a parasite that can cause a yellow colored diarrhea. Metronidazole is an antibiotic that helps with intestinal inflamation and also takes care of another parasite called giardia. Do you know if the pup received any other dewormer? If not, this would be a good idea to do.

However, parasites should not cause a cough. (In some extreme cases roundworms can cause a cough, but it wouldn't happen in both dogs.) A cough makes me more concerned about a virus. If it is a virus I am hoping that we are dealing with kennel cough. In most cases it is something that a dog will recover from on its own. However, some dogs need antibiotics. While kennel cough does not directly cause diarrhea, the stress of the body fighting the virus can contribute to diarrhea.

My fear is that this could be distemper. Where I practice we do not see distemper, but in many parts of the world it is quite common. Distemper can cause respiratory signs and also digestive signs. Distemper is a very serious virus and is often fatal.

It does sound like the dogs should go back to the vet to have their respiratory signs addressed.

I really hope they are ok!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Well, I had to rush him to the animal hospital and they did a 4th parvo test which came back positive. We are trying to treat it. The Korean vet said his chances of surviving it are low, but I don't know eactly what that means. In your experience how successful is the parvo treatment on an 8 week old puppy?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh I am sorry to hear this news. In most cases if we can keep the puppy hydrated with iv fluids they will survive. However I have had a few cases that did not make it despite excellent care.

I really hope he does ok!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.