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Diarrhea and pain.

Species: Dog
Breed: Sheltie
Age: 1-2 years
My dog Halo is about 14 months old, she's had diarrhea for the last few days. I've figured it might have been because I had to get a different flavor of her dog food this week because they were out of the regular; but this afternoon she's been favoring her back foot, making it difficult for her to walk. It was out of the blue because she was playing with our other 2 dogs just a couple of hours earlier. I took her outside, she had a diarrhea episode again, and when she tried to walk up our steps, she fell on the first step and couldn't lift her backside. She's not whining or whimpering like she's in pain, but she's not able to put much pressure on her backside. She looks lethargic, and like somethings not right, which it isn't. Not sure if it's her leg, a pinched nerve or something to do with her diarrhea. Do you have any thoughts? It's Saturday so I was hesitant to call my vet unless it's serious. I'm just trying to evaluate her symptoms..
Thanks, Derek / North Platte, Nebraska


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Derek and thanks for your question.

Changing the flavor of food can certainly cause diarrhea, but obviously shouldn't cause the problem with her leg.

I'm a little bit concerned about the fact that she had trouble lifting her backside. This may mean that there is a problem with her back such as a problem with an intervertebral disc.

Or, another possibility is if she has had an injury to her pelvis. Usually for this to happen there would have to be some sort of significant trauma like being hit by a vehicle.

It's hard to say whether there is a connection to the diarrhea. It's possible that she is stressed because of the back end injury and this caused the diarrhea. However, as she had diarrhea for a couple of days first, I think the two problems are not related.

So, the next question is whether she needs to go to see a vet on an emergency basis. This is always hard to say without seeing her, so here are some things that may help with your decision:

-Does it seem like she is having significant difficulty whenever she tries to walk? If so, then this is definitely painful. Dogs will do all they can to hide their pain.

-How is her appetite? If she is not wanting to eat then this is a sign of pain and she should be seen sooner.

-Are her back feet knuckling at all? By this, I mean that if you knuckle her foot so that the tops of her toes are touching the ground, does she immediately place it back? If not, this can be a sign of a serious back problem and an emergency visit is definitely necessary.

Unfortunately I don't usually recommend giving anything over the counter to help with pain until we know the cause as sometimes we can do more harm than good.

I wish I could help you more with this decision! I'd love it if you could let me know how things work out.

I will be going offline for a few hours as I am heading out to a family barbecue, but if you have more concerns I will answer them when I check in tonight.

Hope everything is 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:

Thanks for getting back to me. I'm going to watch her for awhile and just evaluate some more. It's obvious she doesn't feel very good, but yeah it would seem to be 2 different issues, but she's been in the house most of the day other than to go to the bathroom, so it's just baffling to me. I'll sure let you know what I find out.

Thank You,


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sounds like a good plan. I hope she is feeling better soon!





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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.