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Diarrhea and coughing.

Species: Dog
Breed: Brussels Griffon (Mi
Age: 2-5 years
First off let me apologize for the convoluted description of the symptoms, but I feel it is necessary.

5 days ago God dropped a little angel into our laps. She is a Brussels Griffon (and I BELIVE Pug mix but not sure) who is about 3 years old. She was abandoned by her owner(s) and found her way to us after approximately 2 or 3 days of roaming. I was able to contact her original adopter and vet via the Rabies tag on her collar and she told me that she adopted her from the pound approximately 2 years ago and had her spayed and all of her shots up to date and she was HW- at the time. I have not been able to contact the owners who had her for the past year so I am not sure what shots she has had over the past year.

When we first brought her in her stool was very loose and runny but she was and still is bright and energetic (when she's not sleeping which she likes to do a lot). We put her on dry dog food on a regular feeding schedule twice a day. She is what I call a "dainty" eater and sometimes she will eat just a few bites before I pick the food up or she might eat 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup at a time. Her stool firmed up for the most part (there were still a few bowel movements that were more loose than firm, but not really "runny" or "watery") and until today I saw no evidence of worms. Also I have found a couple of times over the past few days a thick, clear mucous-like..."excretion" (not sure if it was anal or vomit) that had tinges of red in it, and one time it had a couple of pea sized red globules mixed in with it. When I take her out to use the bathroom she has been eating little bits of grass. Once she vomited it right back up within a couple of minutes. She has also vomited once a bright yellow vomit that seemed to be mostly foamy or liquid-y.

As I mentioned earlier, when she would defecate I saw no indication of worms, however earlier today when she went, her stool went from firm (left for us sometime late last night or early this morning) to pudding consistency and there was something in it that was rather long (1"-2") and whitish in color but it looked more like a mucous thing than a worm and there seemed to be a...I don't know..."globule" at one end of it and there was also a slight reddish tinge to the feces (not sure if that is because of the dog food or not (Purina Beneful)). Along with that, just this morning, she has developed a cough that sounds much like the Kennel Cough video you linked to in an answer to one of your other questions. The cough is not constant or non stop but when she starts coughing she will cough repeatedly for a short period of time, 30 sec. to one minute and then stop. When she sleeps she will sleep for an hour or two and not cough at all.

She has been itching terribly since she came to us, both scratching and biting all over. I applied some Hartz flea treatment 4 days ago (The once a month down the back) and just yesterday bathed her with oatmeal shampoo in case it may be dry skin. She doesn't seem to be itching quite as bad but she still scratches and bites from time to time.

Her breathing seems normal with no shortness of breath or labored breathing, her respirations are about 20 bpm. My wife said a couple of days ago when she was holding her that she felt a little warmer than normal but that has since gone away.

I am not sure if maybe she has somehow gotten a furball from all the biting and scratching or what I can give her from the house (i.e. Flaxseed Oil, raw egg,) that might help her either pass it or cough it up.

Again, I apologize for the extremely long and convoluted description of the symptoms. Not really sure what is pertinent and what is not. Thank you so much.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ginger really sounds like a sweetie, but she definitely has a few issues! I'll see if I can help to narrow down her problems, but ultimately, she's going to need to see the vet.

I am definitely concerned about the possibility of parasites. Many times you will not see parasites in the stool even if a dog has them. They only tend to come out in the stool once they have been killed. It would be a great idea to take a stool sample to your vet. They will do a test called a fecal flotation and determine if there are parasites there. Some parasites are killed quite easily with dewormers. Others, like giardia need a longer course of medication to be eradicated.

Roundworms, which are quite common, can go through a phase where they affect the lungs, so this could possibly cause the coughing.

However, it's also possible that she has picked up kennel cough. Here is a good article on kennel cough to give you more information. If it is this, then the cough should get better within a few days. But if she is getting worse with the cough or seems really unwell then she may need medication from the vet.

Heartworm is a possibility for the cough as well if you are in an area that sees a lot of heartworm (i.e. in the Southern USA). It wouldn't directly cause diarrhea, but diarrhea can be secondary to stress in the body, so this is possible.

The red in her stool could definitely be from the food coloring in Beneful. (I'm not a fan of this food by the way). It could also be some blood. A small amount of blood in the stool usually just means inflammation and is not really something to worry about.

Regarding fleas, usually the over the counter products like Hartz do not work well. I have found that they kill a percentage of the fleas, but not 100%. I have written an article on fleas that gives you very detailed information on what does work.

I wish I could give you an answer that would cure her at home, but the best advice I can give would be to have your vet look at her. Her symptoms do have me a little worried. Hopefully there is just a minor parasite issue and not something more serious.



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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:

Thanks so much for the advice. As an update Ginger has since been to the vet. She is HW- now has her adult rabies and was given a steroid injection and Cephalexin for her cough, however the vet wouldn't commit to either Kennel Cough or a respiratory infection. The vet did say that her heart and lungs sounded fine, and that she had no fever. Finances prevented having the fecal done for worms as the HW, Rabies and exam for the KC ran almost $200. Being on a fixed income every month sort of forced us to choose what was the absolute most immediate and important but still be able to eat.

While her stool has, for the most part, firmed up since I switched her from the Beneful to Blue Buffalo it is still occasionally much more soft than firm but has not been runny. I thought that perhaps I would give her a de-wormer like Drontal or Drontal Plus, just in case, but after reading a couple of sites last night I'm more confused than ever. One thing that confuses me is the Difference in Drontal and Drontal Plus. When I read the active ingredients they are the same for both medicines. So I'm not sure what to do, or which one to get. Someone posed the possibility that they are in fact the same medicine but just branded as Drontal Plus here in the states. It seems that I can get the Drontal from Joe's Pet Meds without a prescription but the Drontal Plus requires a prescription everywhere that I can find it. Also, I'm not sure if I should give only one tablet or do a three day run.

Thank you again for all your advice and help. I really do appreciate it.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome. The difference between Drontal and Drontal plus is fenbendazole which would also treat whipworms. Although whipworms are possible, I would think it would be fine to treat with the regular Drontal for now. I'd repeat it in 2 weeks as well.



Customer reply:

Great. Thank you so very much for all of your help. I really appreciate it! I'll give her the Drontal and then per your advice re-treat in two weeks.


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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.