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Ask the Veterinarian/Significant anal leakage and lethargy


Apologies in advance for the amount of poop references in this post. We found our year and a half old pit bull terrier as a stray approximately three months ago. She has had ongoing digestive issues. First she had the expected issues with digestion, diarrhea, and throwing up. She was prescribed antibiotics to balance out the "bad bacteria" still in her stomach from being a stray. Since then, she'll occasionally throw up after eating too quickly. That mostly stopped when we changed from a chicken-based food to a fish-based food. I've noticed that she still often throws up several hours after having beef or chicken-based treats. She's thrown up toy-fuzz twice in the past month after I couldn't get a dog toy away from her quickly enough.

We've noticed white secretion around her rear after she poops, and we were told not to worried about it. Today though, she's had secretions that left stains that were about six inches in diameter twice in three hours. Finally, she left a stain that was about 11 inches in diameter. Her poop right before and after this, and it was extremely soft. Currently she is very lethargic. While she usually follows us around and comes when called, currently she'll look at us without moving unless we call several times. Without knowing how to express it more clearly, she looks like she feels miserable. She threw up once earlier tonight, but no blood or anything suspicious.

Also, she had tapeworms a month and a half ago or so but they were cleared up after one antibiotic  dose.

We'd really appreciate any guidance!

Well firstly, antibiotics do NOT kill tapeworms. She needs medicine that you can only get from the vet to kill them. It would be called Drontal or Droncit. She should be given a dose of that.

Secondly, she may be having Mal-absorption issues. What this means is that she isn't digesting food properly, no matter what kind of food it is. The giveaway is the white liquid. This is very common in digestive problems.

She could also have colitis, or even IBD. Even dogs get these common human diseases. Irritable Bowel disorder and colitis look quite similar in their symptoms but the IBD cause painful cramping and gas.

Colitis is a digestive problem that can be controlled with diet. Most commonly used is Hill's Prescription W/D. It is a weight control diet but has a LOT of Fiber in it which makes it ideal for controlling the symptoms of colitis.

Food intolerance can also cause these digestive upsets. The way you determine these is with elimination diets. You must feed one novel diet at a time for a month to see how she does on it each one.

Novel diets are foods that you would normally not feed, such as duck and potato. Venison and sweet potato is another one. There are rabbit and other combinations as well.

In either case, your dog needs a more thorough exam and then your vet can decide which way to go- either with a diet trial of W/D or some powdered enzymes for her food, or the elimination diets.

So that is where you need to start. Once you find a food that works for her you MUST keep her on it, probably for life. You will also have to change her treats or stop giving her treats period. You can use her new food as treat food. Believe me, it works.  

So call the vet Monday morning and get her in for an exam, possibly some blood work and a new diet.

I hope that helps. Please let me know how she does, and don't forget the Drontal!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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