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Older dog - bloody diarrhea.

Species: Dog
Breed: cocker spaniel/golde
Age: 11-15 years
My dog is a 12 1/2 yr old cocker spaniel/golden retriever mix. She's had diarrhea since Thursday, I tried giving her rice, but no difference. It's getting worse, it's VERY liquidy and now she's been bleeding since yesterday. Not just diarrhea, but blood drips out by itself. Her appetite was fine at first, she didn't seem interested in food last night, so I didn't give her any. So she didn't eat for 24 hours, but I just gave her some rice with boiled chicken and she ate it up. We took her to the vet today and they took a blood sample and gave us metronidazole to help stop the diarrhea. He gave no scenarios as to what could be causing it, or what we may expect. We'd like a 2nd opinion, but truthfully can't afford another office visit and because of our schedules we wouldn't be able to take her until later next week. We have 3 small children - it may be a silly question, but is there any chance she has something they can get? Is there anything else you can tell me?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that Shelley is not feeling well. What an interesting breed - I would imagine that a Golden cocker spaniel mix is a real sweetheart!

There are a great number of reasons for bloody diarrhea in a dog. The good news is that the majority of the time it is nothing serious. The cause can be something that she ate, but often we don't know what the cause is.

The metronidazole that your vet gave is a common treatment for diarrhea. It is an antibiotic. However, it has properties that really help with inflammation in the intestines. Often just stopping the inflammation will clear things up. I usually recommend a bland food as well which could be either boiled chicken and rice, or a commercial prescription food such as Royal-Canin Gastro. (This would be something you would have to get at your vet's office.)

Because Shelley is an older dog, I think it is wise that your vet wanted to do some blood tests to make sure that there is not a more serious problem like a kidney or liver issue. It is a little concerning that she lost her appetite. However, the fact that she eventually started eating again is a really good sign.

I will commonly treat a dog in the same way that your vet is treating Shelley. If the dog is really unwell and dehydrated then I will recommend a day or two in the hospital on IV fluids, but it sounds like your vet didn't feel that she needed that.

From this point, you may find that she goes a day or two without any stool. This is common after having had diarrhea. Then, you should find that things gradually get better.

I would be worried if you are noticing more lethargy or lack of appetite again.

One additional thought. There have been a number of food and treat issues lately that could cause diarrhea problems so you may want to check out this list of pet food and treat recalls"> to see if anything fits.

I hope she's ok. Let me know if you have more questions!


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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.

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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.