Computerised referral histories were reviewed for dogs admitted to the University of Liverpool Small Animal Teaching Hospital between January 2000 and December 2008 with diarrhoea among the clinical signs. A total of 371 cases presenting to the referring veterinary surgeon were included in the study, and information was compiled regarding signalment, clinical signs and treatment given at the initial consultation. Various breeds, ages and sexes were represented. Antibacterials were used in 263 (71 per cent) cases, steroids in 71 (19 per cent) cases and miscellaneous antidiarrhoeal products (including probiotics, prebiotics, adsorbents and antimotility drugs) in 98 (26 per cent) cases. Other drugs used included antiemetics (48 of 371 [13 per cent] cases), gastric protectants (37 of 371 [10 per cent] cases) and sulfasalazine (26 of 371 [7 per cent] cases). Antibacterial administration was positively associated with hyperthermia (odds ratio [OR]=2.97, P=0.012) and anorexia (OR=2.17, P=0.0075), but negatively associated with both weight loss (OR=0.55, P=0.036) and tenesmus (OR=0.43, P=0.035). In contrast, use of antidiarrhoeal products was positively associated with the presence of faecal mucus (OR=1.77, P=0.043), and negatively associated with vomiting (OR=0.57, P=0.025) and weight loss (OR=0.52, P=0.033).
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