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Posted on 08-31-2016
Stress Colitis: Diarrhea in a Boarding Kennel
The holiday season is upon us and with that come vacations! We all love to get away to a nice destination to enjoy some needed rest and relaxation. Everything is great right? That is until that dreaded call that the dog has developed diarrhea in the boarding kennel. Nothing puts a damper on your vacation like worrying about the pets at home. Why does this always happen?
Generally, most bouts of dog diarrhea are related to a couple of scenarios when in a boarding facility. First we always worry about parasites and viruses. Numerous pets kept in close quarters is a good place for worms and other bugs to be passed around. It’s like picking up a cold on a plane. Most dog kennels do a great job cleaning up and disinfecting but there are breakthroughs that occur. Looking for parasites is an easy test your veterinarian can perform and will help make sure we aren’t missing anything.
The next most common cause for kennel diarrhea is dietary indiscretion. This is a big term for eating something that your pet is not used to eating. This can be something bad or it may be as simple as eating a different food. We always relate this to dining in a foreign country. You may get an upset stomach from a bad ingredient but it also can occur from a new ingredient to your system. In an environment like a boarding kennel, new things are everywhere, and most dogs are intrigued.
The last and most common cause for diarrhea is stress colitis. If you have ever had a big test or job interview coming up and developed an upset stomach, you know that stress can affect us all in different ways. Pets are no different. Being in boarding facility can be a stressful change and can affect the normal flora of our pet’s digestive tract. This is typically self-limiting but, nonetheless, uncomfortable for our companions.
So what can we do to minimize this? At Firehouse Animal Health Center, we recommend a few things to set your pet’s stay up for success. First, keep your pets on regular heartworm prevention. Most people don’t realize this prevents many of the common intestinal worms we see. Second, visit your boarding kennel ahead of time. Make sure you have found a place you trust to prioritize cleanliness and stress reduction. Lastly, make sure they are being fed a consistent diet from home and NOTHING else. We generally recommend using a daily probiotic to help keep the digestive tract in good shape if it is stressed at all. This has been proven consistently reduce stress colitis in kenneled animals. If you take these steps, you will be in a much better situation to enjoy that much needed time away.
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