ISSN 2398-2950      

Diarrhea: overview

ffelis
Contributor(s):

Daniel Batchelor

Ed Hall


Introduction

Definition

  • Increased water content leading to changes in frequency, fluidity or volume of feces.
  • Mechanisms (often more than one present):
    • Increased secretion.
    • Reduced absorption.
    • Altered permeability.
    • Altered motility.

Clinical classification of diarrhea

  • Associated with systemic disease.
  • Acute, mild, self limiting.
  • Acute, severe.
  • Chronic.
  • Chronic and associated with protein loss.

Localizing diarrhea to small or large bowel

  • Small intestinal diarrhea:
    • Mild increase in frequency (2-3 times per day).
    • Large volume of stool.
    • Color changes may occur.
    • Weight loss may occur.
    • There may be changed blood (melena) or steatorrhea.
  • Large intestinal diarrhea:
    • Increased frequency (> 3 times per day).
    • Mucus often present.
    • Fresh blood often present.
    • Associated with urgency and straining.
    • No weight loss unless severe disease.

Acute diarrhea

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Chronic diarrhea

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Therapeutic trials

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Jergens A E, Crandell J M, Evans R et al (2010) A clinical index for disease activity in cats with chronic enteropathy. J Vet Intern Med 24 (5), 1027-1033 PubMed.
  • Washabau R J, Day M J, Willard M D et al (2010) Endoscopic, biopsy, and histopathologic guidelines for the evaluation of gastrointestinal inflammation in companion animals. J Vet Intern Med 24 (1), 10-26 PubMed.
  • Thompson K A, Parnell N K, Hohenhaus A E et al (2009) Feline exocrine pancreatic insufficiency: 16 cases (1992-2007). J Feline Med Surg 11 (12), 935-940 PubMed.
  • Ruaux C G, Steiner J M, Williams D A (2005) Early biochemical and clinical responses to cobalamin supplementation in cats with signs of gastrointestinal disease and severe hypocobalaminemia. J Vet Intern Med 19 (2), 155-160 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hall E J, German A J (2010) Diseases of the small intestine. In: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 7th edn, edited by Ettinger S J, Feldman E C, St Louis, Saunders, pp 1526-1572.
  • Allenspach K (2010) Diseases of the large intestine. In: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 7th edn, edited by Ettinger S J, Feldman E C, St Louis, Saunders, pp 1573-1594.

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