Comparing Common Therapies for Acute Canine Diarrhea

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs with acute canine diarrhea (“sudden-onset” diarrhea) for a clinical research trial to evaluate commonly used approaches used to treat this condition.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Any dog with acute canine diarrhea presenting to the Ocala UF PETS location and does not have other life threatening diseases.  The doctors will explain this to you.
  • Treatment: Participation in this study will begin during the emergency room visit, a 5 day course of “at-home” treatment and 2 follow up phone calls (5day and 10days).  During the initial visit, your dog will have a fecal sample collected to check for parasites and screen for pathogens.  A blood sample will also be collected.  Your dog will be assigned to one of three treatment groups (Probiotic, Antibiotic, or Placebo).  You will be asked to give the medication to your pet at home for 5 days and monitor your dog’s stool consistency and frequency for 10 days.  You will complete a brief questionnaire during the follow up phone calls.
  • Cost: The study will pay for the cost of the medications used in this study and the initial blood draw and fecal collection analysis.  You may be charged for expenses if the follow up phone calls are not completed.  These costs will be discussed with you prior to enrollment into the clinical trial.
  • Contact:  Patients must present to the Ocala UF PETS with acute diarrhea issues to be considered for eligibility.


The purpose of this study is to compare three approaches to treating sudden-onset diarrhea in pet dogs. There are many potential causes of diarrhea, and in most cases a specific cause is not identified following examination and diagnostic tests. As a result, non-specific therapies which address intestinal inflammation or bacteria are often prescribed by veterinarians. These treatments may include probiotics (bacteria which normally reside in the intestines and help to digest food and protect from harmful bacteria), antibiotics (drugs designed to eliminate an overgrowth of bacteria), or time without a specific drug being given (which is thought to rest the intestines and allow inflammation to subside and bacteria to naturally reduce to normal numbers and types). This research is designed to evaluate which of these common therapies is more effective. Such information will allow dogs to be treated more effectively when they present to a veterinarian with diarrhea.