I am one of your faithful readers, and today's column was of particular interest. Your subject was colitis. Our first puppy, Taffy, was a cocker spaniel and she was a doll, except we could not cope with her inability to be housebroken. We were continually dealing with diarrhea. After many trips to the vet and all kinds of medication (including Kaopectate in pill form), he said he had one more thing to try.
Taffy, bless her heart, took Miltown by Wallace Laboratories, and it worked! Prior to taking the pills, she would get very upset when she had an accident. After taking them for a while, we slowly cut back on them and eventually stopped them completely.
She lived to be a "senior citizen" (14 years) and never had another problem along those lines. When her time came, she went off in her sleep.
D.C.B., Severna Park, Jul 31, 2011
Many readers, including veterinarians, will be interested in your letter. After ruling out intestinal infection, parasites, food allergy and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by appropriate tests and clinical trials, a psychological or psychosomatic cause should be considered. Emotionally sensitive dogs can develop diarrhea when stressed, and this can turn into chronic colitis. Many cases of suspected IBD and irritable bowel syndrome may fall into this category.
Miltown (Wyeth's Equanil) is an anxiety-reducing sedative (meprobamate) widely prescribed for humans in the 1950s and '60s. It was a forerunner of the benzodiazepine class of drugs such as Valium and Xanax, which also may help dogs with a psychological/emotional propensity to develop diarrhea.
I recall one classic case where a sensitive mixed-breed dog would begin to tremble and hide when there was a family argument, during which time one could hear his guts churning! If the argument were not quickly settled, the dog would have to go out to evacuate because he had quickly developed acute diarrhea. The German shepherd was one of the first breeds to be identified as especially prone to developing chronic colitis in association with this kind of emotional stress.