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Contagious diarrhea?

Species: Dog
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 3-6 months
please bare with me as this is gonna be kind of long...

about 2 weeks ago i had found a 3-4 month old 25 lb german shepherd mix pup i named Rayne who got suddenly ill and had bouts of vomiting up her food and then vomiting saliva and lethargy over a course of 2 days, no bowel movements, wasn't eating but was drinking water. on the third day of it i took her to the vet, got a neg parvo test, pos hookworm test so the vet prescribed metronidazole and sufalcrate as well as a dose of dewormer. tests and meds costed close to $400... well i guess her body was just too weak and she passed away that very night.

anyway NOW a week later i have a full blooded german shepherd pup named Bella, 14 weeks old and 25 lbs. took her to the vet on feb 7, 2013 for her shots, did a fecal came back neg for worms. well on saturday night (feb 9, 2013) she vomited up her food but instantly tried to eat it back up. I gave her some water and let it be for the night. sunday morning i made some rice and chicken and she scarfed it down. about 10am she started having soft gooey yellow stool and by noon she was having liquid yellow stools. she vomited liquid yellow once but other than that just the diarrhea. at around 8:30pm i gave her more rice/chicken/green beans about 2 tsp scoops full and mixed with some warm water and she ate it. i also gave her rayne's meds (which you're probably gonna yell at me for yes i know i shouldn't be self medicating her i'm just freakin out cause i just had a pup die on me right after taking her to the vet). she hasn't pooped yet but is a little lethargic and just icky feeling. it's now monday.. fed her the rice mix again this morning and she ate it, gave her the meds again... still hasn't pooped but did throw up some at around 11:45am.. she is drinking water throughout but her symptoms are a little similar to rayne's so could is be environmental? we have been having a lot of rain lately so maybe sometyhing in the ground? or just coincidental? i just forked up $400 at the vet and kinda don't wanna be going totally broke but i will end up taking bella back to the vet if she gets worse...

i guess my question is do you think the illnesses are linked though they didn't come from the same place? i also have a 1.5 year old doberman/husky who's perfectly healthy.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that these things are happening. There are a lot of different things that can cause a puppy to have diarrhea, so I guess the question here is whether these two incidents have the same cause or not.

My biggest concern would still be for parvo virus even if Rayne had a negative test. Sometime early in the disease a parvo test can come up negative. With a young puppy it certainly can be fatal and quickly. Parvo is very contagious and can stick around the environment, so it is possible that the new puppy has picked it up.

Many adult dogs have immunity against parvo, especially if they have received any vaccines so this could be why your adult dog did not get it.

It is possible that both dogs have hookworms, but it would be too soon for Bella to have picked up hookworms and gotten this sick if you have only had her for a week. Are they from the same breeder? If so, then she may have come with hookworms. As with any parasite, a fecal exam is not always 100% accurate and hookworms can go through phases where we don't see them on the fecal.

Yellow diarrhea in a puppy is often a sign of coccidia which is another parasite that can be difficult to pick up on a fecal. You may want to ask your vet if this is a possibility. Often when I suspect coccidia I will just start the dog on medication for coccidia just to be safe. This medication will be different than the metronidazole.

I am curious about the metronidazole being given for hookworms. We will give this medication for giardia which is a common parasite that causes diarrhea, but hookworms usually need a different medication.

The fact that she is eating is a good sign. Ultimately of course, the best advice I could give would be to have the vet do more tests. I can understand that this can be expensive though. Please know that Rayne's death is definitely not because of the vet.

If Bella continues to vomit or seems to be going downhill then I would have her seen.

I hope this helps but let me know if you have more questions.

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:

hey dr. marie thanks for your quick response... i'm thinking they gave rayne the metronidazole cause she had a fever when i took her in so maybe she had some internal infection? they gave her a dose of pyrental paomate paste (not sure if that's spelt correctly)for the hookworms. The 2 pups are not from the same breeder ... i found rayne ont he side of the road and I got bella from a woman who owns her parents. Also, i forgot to mention that bella DID eat a handful of dry cat food as well as some kitty poop the day she first threw up which i what i intially thought brought on the diarrhea and vomiting... but would it really last this long? Rayne was pretty much gagging a vomiting throughout the whole 2 days but bella has vomited once each day... she's having some funky stomach gurgling now but still no diarrhea after her vomit spell at 11:45


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, ok. The pyrantel is for the hookworms. The metronidazole is an antibiotic but it also helps with inflammation in the intestines and as such helps with diarrhea.
Eating cat food and kitty poop can definitely cause diarrhea and vomiting. If this is the cause then it should be better within 24-48 hours. Hopefully she will continue to improve!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie. I ended up taking bella to my regular vet (the vet i had taken rayne to was a different vet cause it was on a weekend after my reg vet was closed) Well good news is he couldn't find anything that was an iminent danger to her. no blood in her stool, no parasites, no fever. He said she could possibly be feeling icky due to all the stress of being in a new family as well as when he gave her the vaccines a few days ago. so for now we're just monitoring and i'm to call him if she gets any worse


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is good news. I hope things continue to improve!



Customer reply:

Funny little tidbit... I got my dobie/husky when he was 5 weeks old which was "too young" to leave his parents yet I've never had nearly as much complications with him as I had with Rayne and now Bella... lol


Customer reply:

Well things are def getting a little worse... It's now midnight and she's vomited about 3 times since I took her to the vet at 4pm and she also had the first bowel movement of the day 10pm and was just laying in it so my husband bathed her... I'm trying desperately not to freak out but failing quite often. I've given her some gatorade and water through a syringe cause now she is more listless and doesn't want to drink but she ended up vomiting that as well. I will call the vet when they open if I don't have a stroke before then :-/


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh dear. I don't like the fact that she is still vomiting and getting more listless. This is sounding more serious now. I hope she is better this morning. :(



Customer reply:

Hey Dr. Marie
Update... I'm highly suspecting parvo now as Bella finally had a bowel movement at 10:45 this morning and it was disssgusting.... Not yellow anymore, Brown and blood streaked really thick mucus and smelled like rot... I already called the vet and am taking her back at 3pm... Is there anything I can do for her in the mean time?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh no. Parvo has a very distinctive smell to it. This was my biggest concern as well. The best thing you can do is to try to get her to take small amounts of water. But, if the water makes her vomit then don't push it. The reason why dogs die of parvo is usually dehydration. The vet will likely put her on IV fluids.



Customer reply:

Update: It's NOT parvo (thank God) ... He believes she has gastroenteritis due to stress and some kind of bacteria.. did a cvc blood test and everything was normal except she's just a tiny bit anemic but he's not worried about it... Did another fecal on the poop I brought in and it didn't show any parasites ... He gave her a shot of cerenia and then prescribed... Metronodazole lol same dosage I've been giving her yay. He also gave me a 60ml syringe to give her fluids (Gatorade and water) he wants me to give her 5 of those every 3 or 4 hours though I've been giving her about 2 for now... She does drink regular water on her own... She's up a little more often now so I give her about 15-25 ml of pureed rice/chicken/water every so many hours... Hopefully she can process it well :)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh good! I am glad that it is not parvo. It sounds like she is getting excellent care from both you and your vet. Keep it up!



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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.

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