When your vizsla develops loose stool, it can be a real worry. You may start racking your brains, trying to determine why this has happened. Most Vizslas will develop diarrhea at some stage in their lives and, the majority of the time, the illness will be mild and short-lived.
Rule number one is: Don’t panic! We can usually treat mild cases of diarrhea from the comfort of our own homes. Your Vizsla should remain well and should not have symptoms for more than a few days.
Is Diarrhea Common In Vizslas?
Truthfully, diarrhea is common in any dog. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons a dog will come to see me in my practice. When you realize just what a dog will eat off the ground, it’s little wonder they may sometimes suffer the consequences!
Compared to other pedigrees, the Vizsla isn’t especially prone to diarrhea, and most will have a robust digestive system.
Diarrhea is more common in young dogs (puppies in particular) but can occur at any age.
Common Causes of Diarrhea In Vizslas
There are a lot of different causes of diarrhea, and we don’t always get a reason as to what has caused our dog’s upset stomach. For most, their diarrhea will last a day or two and will disappear without us ever knowing why it happened in the first place.
1. Parasites such as worms and protozoal infections
Parasites are especially common in young Vizslas but can occur at any age. We rarely see them in the stool, and many (such as Giardia) are microscopic. Other signs can include increased hunger, abdominal bloating, and poor coat quality. Your vet can analyze the stool to determine if there are any unwelcome guests. Treatment is usually very straightforward.
2. Dietary indiscretion
While Vizsla’s have a hardy constitution, even they won’t be able to tolerate rotten meat or moldy bread. Signs tend to show up pretty quickly, and your Vizsla may also become lethargic and start vomiting.
Eating something foul or rotten can happen at any moment and without notice. It only takes a second for him to gobble something up he’s found in the bushes while out on a walk, or eat something from the trash.
Additionally, it could be caused by table scraps that we’ve knowingly given. Often times table scraps and tidbits are far too rich for dogs not to mention many of the ingredients being bad for them. It’s recommended to avoid table scraps and stick to healthy natural dog treats.
A very stressful event, such as a house move or fight with another dog, can be enough to cause those bowels to speed up and the stool to loosen. Puppies and older dogs are less able to cope with stress and change.
Long-term stress could also be affecting your V, things like being left home alone for too long and too often is a classic culprit of many chronically stressed Vizslas.
4. An abrupt diet change
When we want to change our dog’s diet, doing this too quickly can cause a stomach upset. It is generally advised that a diet change is made slowly over 7 days. This is true even if your pooch isn’t usually one to suffer from diarrhea.
Even a short trip in a car can lead to diarrhea, and this can be due to a combination of stress and travel sickness. Make journeys as short as possible and take lots of toilet breaks for fresh air and a stretch of the legs.
6. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Those Vizslas with IBD tend to have chronic diarrhea and vomiting. During a flare-up, they may also lose weight and go off their food. This can be a tricky condition to diagnose, and an extensive workup is usually needed.
7. Food allergies or sensitivities
While dogs don’t often suffer from immediate IgE food allergies (that can cause anaphylaxis), they can be sensitive to some ingredients in their diet. Adverse food reactions can cause symptoms, including nausea and diarrhea. Dogs can react to any protein, but dairy, chicken, beef, pea, and grain are some of the most common culprits. A hypoallergenic diet trial may be worth pursuing. It can take 6 weeks before improvement is seen. While on the diet, dogs must not be given other foods such as dental sticks or treats.
8. Other health issues
In some cases, diarrhea is just the tip of the iceberg, and there is something more sinister afoot. If diarrhea persists or is accompanied by other signs such as an increase in thirst, a bloated abdomen, weight loss, or a change in appetite, we need to look into things.
How To Help Your Vizsla With Diarrhea
When your dog passes a loose stool, it is important to take a closer look. Letting the vet know about the color and consistency, as well as the presence of any mucus (slime) or blood, can be very helpful.
If your dog is otherwise well, it is sensible to see if we can treat them at home.
Bland food diet:
Keep a close eye on them in case of any other symptoms such as vomiting or a reduced appetite. It is best to switch them to a very bland and digestible diet, such as boiled chicken and rice for 48 hours. You can also offer a prescription sensitivity diet, such as Hill’s I/D.
Stop feeding any treats or chews, which may be more difficult to digest.
As animals lose extra fluid in their stool when it is loose, be sure your dog is drinking plenty of water. This may mean adding water to their meals or offering ice cubes. Their gums should feel wet to the touch; dry gums can indicate dehydration.
Check worming medication:
Double-check your furry friend is up to date with their wormer and make sure it is a broad-acting one, rather than, e.g., just a tape-wormer. Ask your vet if unsure when they are due.
Consider a short course of a probiotic anti-diarrhea paste. This is usually syringed into your dog’s mouth or onto their meals for 2-3 days. Most pastes contain ingredients such as kaolin and pectin, which encourage the stool to remain formed and prevent water loss.
Additional Reading: 10 Causes of dry skin in Vizslas and why it’s so bad
When To Seek Help From Your Vet
If the diarrhea is not improving swiftly, there may be more going on. Similarly, when diarrhea is accompanied by other signs or your pooch seems unwell, a vet visit is sensible.
Profuse diarrhea or diarrhea that also contains digested (black and tarry) or fresh (red) blood is also a red flag.
Preventing Diarrhea In Vizslas
While we can’t prevent every case of diarrhea, there are steps we can take to keep our dog’s gut healthy.
- Keep them on a good quality diet and make any food changes slowly over several days
- Avoid rich or fatty foods
- Keep your pet up to date with their parasite prevention
- Consider ongoing probiotics to bolster gut health
- Minimize stress to the best of your ability
- Keep them out of the garbage and prevent them from eating anything while out on a walk
Though it can be a worry when our dog develops diarrhea, most cases resolve spontaneously within a few days. It can be useful to pop your detective hat on and try to figure out what has caused the sloppy stool.
Monitor the poop, ensuring it is becoming more solid with time and that there are no worms or flecks of blood to be seen.
When your Vizsla is experiencing diarrhea, keep their diet nice and bland and try to make sure they’re well hydrated.
If in doubt, or the diarrhea is not improving, never hesitate to have your dog seen by their vet for a check over.
Check out our other Vizsla Articles here on The Puppy Mag