Long-term diarrhoea in dogs and catsLoose stools can become an ongoing problem in both dogs and cats. In medical terms, changes to the consistency of stools is termed chronic diarrhoea when it has been present for 2 weeks or more. This is quite common. In this article we look at the typical reasons and how to help your pet.This article was written by a FirstVet vetDid you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet✓ Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Rating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1300 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviews BOOK Causes of chronic diarrhoeaThere are intestinal causes of diarrhoea, which include problems with the small intestine, large intestine, problems with digestion and dietary issues. However, there can also be other causes that can have a secondary effect on the intestines, such as problems with the liver or pancreas.Some common causes are:Irritable Bowel Disease/Disorder (IBD)Protein Losing Enteropathy (PLE) - a form of inflammationInfectionsParasites (such as intestinal worms, Giardia, coccidia)CancerDietary intolerance or allergiesDrugs and medicationsSigns of chronic diarrhoeaThe symptoms will be dependent on the cause of the softer stools and may include:Weight lossVomitingIncreased frequency of passing stoolsIncreased gasSpots of bloodMucus/clear jellyPain when passing stoolsStrainingChange in volume of stoolsChange in colour of stoolsTreatment of chronic diarrhoeaOnce a likely diagnosis has been made, treatment can be started. This may include a change in diet, wormers and faecal samples being collected and sent to the laboratory for testing. In more severe cases, an abdominal ultrasound or x-ray may be needed and there are also times when antibiotics are required.Prevention of chronic diarrhoeaA good quality, balanced diet is essential. Always introduce any diet changes slowly and try to avoid scavenging. It is important to keep your pet up to date with regular worming treatment. It is also a good idea to check the garden regularly for any material or plants that may cause diarrhoea.When to see a vet?If you notice that your pet has diarrhoea, please get in touch with your vet. This is particularly important if you notice blood present, if your pet is passing large volumes of diarrhoea or has other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, pain or a reduced appetite.Further informationInflammatory bowel disease in dogsCommon infectious causes of diarrhoea in dogs and puppiesFood allergies in dogs and cats and how to manage themColitis in dogs - A common cause of diarrhoeaStill worried?If you would like more advice on nutrition or raw feeding, please book an online video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet nutrition vets.