Chronic diarrhoea is defined as diarrhoea that is present for longer than 2 weeks, or is episodic, or intermittent.

The diagnostic approach should include:

  • History:
    • Toxin or foreign body ingestion?
    • Worming status.
    • Travel history.
    • Dietary history.
    • Presence of signs in in-contact animals?
    • Presence of systemic signs?
    • Weight loss?


  • Physical examination:
    • Vital signs.
    • Hydration status.
    • Body condition score.
    • Check oral mucous membranes (anaemia, jaundice).
    • Check under tongue (for linear foreign body).
    • Palpate abdomen (foreign body, mass, effusion, thickened or bunched intestines, pain, organomegaly).
    • Rectal examination (mass, foreign body, melena).
    • Ascites or peripheral oedema can be seen in protein-losing enteropathy (PLE).
    • Skin signs can be present in cases of dietary sensitivity.
    • Examine the rest of the dog to find signs of systemic disease.

To find out more on this topic, watch out for The Webinar Vet’s latest webinar on Chronic diarrhoea; a rational approach to investigation by James McMurrough BVSc CertAVP(SAM) CertAVP(VC) MRCVS on 25th April at 8.30 pm.

For further information on Chronic diarrhoea check out this related content on Vetlexicon Canis:

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