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"In 2001 a very special little kitten came to stay at our house named Emma. She weighed in at a whopping 2 ½ pounds. When she was about 9 months old she began vomiting and wouldn’t eat. The doctors at Piney Creek Square Veterinary Clinic took x-rays, but nothing showed up on them. She was losing weight, and she was thin by nature anyway, so everyone was worried about her. Dr. Behrns came to the rescue and performed emergency surgery on our little girl. She found an almond trying to pass into Emma’s stomach. Of course, it would not have shown up on an x-ray. Thank you, Dr. Behrns, for saving Emma’s life."

-Margo K.


Diarrhea is commonly caused by bacterial infection or overgrowth, parasites or is a symptom of another medical condition afflicting the body. Two frequently diagnosed causes are Clostridium perfringens and Giardia.

Clostridium perfringens is a normally occurring bacteria within the intestinal tract of animals but can occasionally overgrow. This imbalance is typically seen  when the immune system is stressed because the dog or cat ate something outside its regular diet (toys, sticks, wildlife, rapid change from one diet to another, etc) or because the pet was physically stressed (staying at a boarding facility away from owners, visitors to the home disrupting the usual routine, etc.).

Another cause, Giardia is the most common intestinal parasite that our clinic diagnoses. When your pet drinks from stagnant water pools or lakes and streams in the mountains, there is a good chance he/she will contract Giardia.

One distinct difference between these two causes is that Clostridium perfringens is NOT contagious but Giardia IS, not only to other pet in the household but to people too. How they are alike is that they are diagnosed with a fecal sample obtained and brought to the clinic within a few hours of being deposited. If it is one of these more likely causes or another parasite or bacteria, our trained staff can determine the best approach to treatment for your pet.

For patients that continue to have diarrhea in the face of treatment or are fine on treatment but then rebound, our doctors can recommend additional diagnostics as needed. Contact Piney Creek Square Integrative Veterinary Medicine today so we can help meet the needs of you and your pet the best way possible.

Additional information regarding this condition can be found at the following links: