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Companion Animal Practice
Canine diarrhoea: a rational approach to diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas
  1. Ed Hall

    Ed Hall is Professor of Small Animal Internal Medicine, and Head of the Division of Companion Animal Studies at Bristol. He trained in small animal medicine and gastroenterology, first at the University of Pennsylvania and then at Liverpool. His current research interests are canine gastrointestinal diseases, particularly enteropathies in German shepherd dogs. He is currently President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.


GASTROINTESTINAL problems in dogs are extremely common, with nearly 15 per cent of pet dogs having recently been reported to exhibit an episode of diarrhoea within the previous two weeks. Most episodes were self-limiting and only 10 per cent of dogs required veterinary attention. Unsurprisingly, help tended to be sought when signs were persistent or severe. Scavenging was generally considered by the owners to be the most likely cause of these temporary problems. Considering the complex nature of the digestive process and the intricate coordination of neuromuscular, endocrine, immunological and digestive processes, it is surprising that the incidence of abnormal stool is not higher. Thus, there is no doubt that busy practitioners will see dogs with gastrointestinal signs on an almost daily basis, so rather than describe the ‘best’ diagnostic approach to all dogs with diarrhoea, this article offers guidance for dealing with the difficulties and dilemmas presented by such patients.

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