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Aleksander, December 2010.

Aleksander, December 2010.

Do you see this sweet face? At 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 5:30 in the morning, it’s not so sweet. Mostly because I’m grumpy and tired if awoken at those times, as I was last night and a week ago, plus at various other odd sleeping hours over the past week.

Doggy has diarrhea, which started a week ago. We thought it was because I had fed him moist food the night before, which was a switch from his Iams dry food. After that night of constant waking, I was wrecked, so I stayed home from work during the morning in order to catch up on some sleep and keep an eye on the pup. I did some online research for dog diarrhea and one site suggested feeding pup a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken. We did this for a couple of days and the diarrhea started clearing up. Pup also slept better (no whimpering for having to poop), which meant we slept better, too.

Over the weekend, it appeared that pup had developed constipation. He was straining to go one night (once again waking me several times during normal sleeping hours) and threw up some yellowish foamy bile the next morning. Vomiting seemed like a serious turn of events. Pup had been active and drinking plenty of water and eating during his bout with diarrhea.

Because of the vomiting, we called the vet. It was Sunday, so we got the emergency message and the vet called us back a few minutes later. By this time, I was worried the pup had an obstruction. He likes to chew on plastic, which we grab from him as soon as we see it. The vet asked if pup had thrown up any food. Nope. An obstruction caused by a foreign object is likely to get caught higher up in the digestive tract, not in the lower, where the diarrhea/constipation was originating. The vet said to buy some stool softener to deal with the constipation. After I got off the phone, I took pup outside and, lo!, he passed a loose stool. Okay, no constipation. Back to the diarrhea.

He passed a normally formed stool later that day and we thought we were in the clear. Until last night. Another night of forced insomnia was just the motivation we needed to get pup to the vet … that, and a week’s worth of diarrhea.

I took a fresh stool sample to the vet, who examined pup and had the sample tested. Turns out pup has Coccidia, a protozoa that causes diarrhea in dogs and cats, particularly young dogs and cats, who aren’t yet immune to it. Coccidia is pretty much everywhere, so it’s not like we could have avoided exposing him to it.

The vet prescribed medicine to work on the Coccidia and an anti-diarrheal to sooth pup’s intestines. She also told me to put him back on the rice and chicken diet, which he should be on for a week solid and then slowly weaned off. I asked about giving him dog treats and she said not to because they tend to be high in fat and protein, which aren’t good for a case of diarrhea.

I’m fully expecting pup to wake us again tonight. Hopefully, it won’t be as often as last night. (Even when I’m bleary-eyed, I have to begrudgingly admit that pup’s face is still sweet.)