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Homeopathic First Aid

Diarrhea, Enteritis and Colitis in Pets

There are a number of underlying reasons why animals develop diarrhea resulting in severe acute, less acute or chronic problems. Minor cases of diarrhea in adult animas will often start to clear up within a day, particularly where dietary changes are the underlying cause. In these situations feeding a bland diet and water is often sufficient. Severe, acute diarrhea, any cases lasting longer than 24 hours or so, and diarrhea in young animals all need veterinary help.

Choose from the suggested remedies as an interim measure to help back up any conventional treatment. Underlying causes of acute diarrhea include infection with Salmonella or Clostridial bacteria, the overuse of antibiotics and poisoning. Colitis or other diseases of the bowel are normally only seen in adult animals and involves inflammation of the large intestine. The result is diarrhea often containing mucus and blood and damage to the lining of the gut allowing toxins and bacteria to gain access to the bloodstream eventually leading to a state of toxic shock. In horses this acute and potentially fatal condition is known as Colitis X.

Symptoms are acute and pronounced and include fever, increased pulse and respiratory rate, weakness, lack of appetite, abdominal pain and discoloration of the mucous membranes. Diarrhea may not always be present in the initial, acute stages of these diseases, but can be explosive and watery, sometimes hemorrhagic (depending on the cause), leading to dehydration. Septicemia leading to death is a distinct possibility. Where antibiotics are the cause of diarrhea, symptoms may appear suddenly a few days after administration and can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration.

Homeopathic Treatment

Remedies to use in the very early stages of acute diarrhea/colitis:

Initially aim to use remedies that can help with the symptoms of any fever, before any more dramatic symptoms appear. The aim of doing this is to reduce the severity of the illness. If bacteria are involved the appropriate nosode can be used as well.

Dosing Example

Choose the most fitting remedy to the case, use a 30c or 200c potency and give one dose every 15-20 minutes until the animal improves. You should see some results with in 3 doses if not you should consider another remedy more homeopathic to the case.


Use this in the very early stages where there is an element of fear and anxiety together with fever and very few other signs. The abdomen may be painful to touch and the animal will be extremely restless.


Indicated where the pulse is extremely strong and bounding, mucous membranes are discolored, congested and red. The animal appears distressed. Small quantities of fluid diarrhea may be passed. If the pupils are dilated as well, this is a good clue to using Belladonna. Abdominal pain is often present but the pain comes and goes in spasms.


This is a remedy for septicemia and is likely to be most useful where diarrhea is already evident and where this is putrid and offensive in nature and passed with a little gas. The animal will appear confused and drowsy. Fever symptoms are less pronounced than with other remedies. Mucous membranes are often a dark dusky color where Baptisia is helpful.


Pyrogen is another remedy indicated in septicemia, especially where there is extreme restlessness and the animal cannot remain still. Any diarrhea seen is offensive. Although the fever may not be as high as with other remedies, the pulse rate will be raised out of all proportion to the temperature.

Remedies to use in treating severe or acute diarrhea/colitis/enteritis:

Use the 30c or 200c potency, given every 20-30 minutes. The first three remedies to follow are the most important. The signs of distress and weakness that are associated with these medicines are pronounced in their symptom pictures.

Veratrum album

Keynote: Profuse diarrhea and weakness, cold skin. Use Veratrum where there is violent diarrhea and purging with pain preceding any diarrhea. Check for cold sweating (in horses). The skin will feel cold and tacky and the animal appears weak with a feeble pulse. The diarrhea is watery, frequent, passed with some force but with little straining. Blood may be present. Loss of condition is evident with sunken features.

Cuprum Metallicum

Keynote: Severe diarrhea with colic and cramping. Cuprum should help where there is severe diarrhea, with blood, accompanied by straining and weakness. The abdomen is tender and painful to touch. Colic is evident, where it is violent and intermittent. There are cramping pains as well in the abdomen where it is tense, hot and tender; contracted. The animal will appear unsteady on its legs and the jaws may be forcibly clinched together. Nausea. Vomiting, relieved by drinking cold water. There is a strong metallic taste in mouth. Profuse saliva. Constant protrusion and retraction of the tongue, like a snake.


Keynote: Severe diarrhea with prostration, exhaustion and collapse. Signs of weakness are prominent where Camphor is needed and where collapse is evident. The skin feels and is icy cold to the touch, the whole body. Tongue cold and flabby, trembling. Diarrhea is profuse, dark in color (blackish) and passed with little effort. Pressive pain in the pit of the stomach. Coldness, followed by burning. This is a cholera remedy for humans!

Arsenicum album

Keynote: Severe diarrhea with emaciation and weakness, diarrhea from excessive water intake, restlessness. This is an important remedy where the diarrhea is watery, possibly tinged with blood and offensive in nature and where the animal is weakened or exhausted and has lost condition quickly. The diarrhea makes the area around the back legs and anal region very sore where the skin has been contaminated. Other vital guiding symptoms include intense restlessness, anxiety or fear and thirst for small quantities of water. Symptoms intensify during the night, especially around midnight. Think, Parvo-virus in dogs.

Carbo veg

Keynote: Diarrhea from bad food, foul diarrhea with weakness and coldness. Think of using Carbo veg where diarrhea originates from consumption of bad or mycotoxic food and where the feces is foul. Mucus and blood may also be present. Signs can be quite severe and animal feels cold to the touch and in a weakened state. Bacteria find a rich soil in the nearly lifeless blood stream and a sepsis state ensues. Cramps, causing the animal to bend double. Distress comes on a half-hour after eating. The simplest food distresses. The abdomen greatly distended; better, passing wind. Flatulent colic. Pain in the liver. Acrid, corrosive moisture from rectum. Discharge of blood from the rectum. Painful diarrhea, frequent, involuntary, cadaverous-smelling stools followed by burning. Skin: blue and cold. Modalities: Worse < evening; night and open air; cold, yet desires to be fanned.

It is worth noting that the following remedies should also be considered:


Keynote: Dehydration and debility, severe watery diarrhea. China can be used to help with the effects of dehydration and associated weakness in any case but is also a diarrhea remedy in its own right helping where the feces is profuse and watery in nature with some bloating of the abdomen.


Keynote: Straining with severe watery, frothy diarrhea containing shreds of bowel lining and bright red blood. Ipecac can help where the diarrhea is severe and characteristically is passed with slimy mucus, bright red blood and shreds of intestinal lining. Severe straining accompainies each passage of diarrhea with signs of abdominal pain as the animal stretches out each time something is passed.


Keynote: Diarrhea involving a mixture of watery and solid material with gas: Drug induced diarrhea, Colitis X. Useful where the diarrhea is jelly-like or lumpy and contains blood or is a mixture of watery and lumpy material interspersed with gas. Sometimes the animal may be unaware that anything has passed. Violent straining can accompany each bowel movement and there may be bleeding from the rectum in some cases. Also check for rumbling, gurgling noises from the abdomen as well as bloating. Aloe is a useful remedy for antibiotic induced diarrhea where it should be combined with the use of probiotics to help restore the levels of friendly bacteria in the bowel.

Merc sol and Merc corr

Keynote: Slimy diarrhea with mucus, some blood and prominent straining. Colitis X. Straining is the main feature associated with these remedies. The feces is slimy in character and tinged with blood. Discomfort continues even after material has been passed. Symptoms are worse during the hours of darkness. The animal can appear sweaty. When you think of Merc. think STRAINING before, during and even after the stool.

Crot. tiglium

Keynote: Copious watery diarrhea expelled with force. The forcible degree with which the diarrhea is shot out differentiates this remedy from others. The consistency is always watery with loud gurgling sounds from the bowels. A large volume of diarrhea is passed each time.

Nux vomica

Keynote: Diarrhea from changes in feeding or from over-eating. Nux vomica is useful for diarrhea arising from changes in diet or from over feeding. The feces will be slimy and passed in small quantities with some straining evident. The discomfort ceases after the feces has been passed. Irritability and over sensitivity are clues to the use of this remedy.


Keynote: Diarrhea from hot weather. Increased thirst and a dry mouth are indicators to the use of Bryonia, which is an ideal remedy to use where diarrhea seems to occur in hot weather.


Keynote: Diarrhea from emotional excitement or fright. Look for soft feces or more watery diarrhea that is passed without the animal being aware. Trembling or general appearance of weakness are useful indicators.

Argentum nitricum

Keynote: Diarrhea from excitement. Indicated where the diarrhea is watery, appears like chopped spinach and is accompanied by a lot of gas. Affected animals appear agitated.


Indicated in chronic diarrhea in lean, athletic, sensitive animals. The stool is watery and passed in large amounts often along wth gas. The nature of the diarrhea leads to a degree of debility and weakness. Increased thirst is usually a feature and where regurgitation of food is prominent and where there is general muscle weakness.
Dosing Example: 30c three times daily or a 200c twice daily depending on the severity.

Phosphoric acid

Keynote: Diarrhea associated with grief or pining, useful during recovery generally. Check for painless watery diarrhea that is passed almost unnoticed along with gas. Phos ac. is a good general remedy that can be used during recovery from debility and exhaustion caused by prolonged or severe diarrhea.

Diarrhea due to malabsorption type syndromes:

This covers a selection of diseases that result in weight loss (despite eating well), chronic diarrhea, emaciation, muscle wasting with the development of subcutaneous edema in advanced cases. Good remedies to think about using include:Abrotanum 30c, Acetic acid 30c and Iodum 30c.

Additional remedies for chronic diarrhea include:


This bowel nosode is one of the main remedies for general malnutrition where there is emaciation and chronic diarrhea. The digestive system is weak with a tendency to pick up heavy worm burdens. Dosing Example: 30c twice daily (for 5 days).


Indicated in animals with a weak constitution and where the lining of the bowel has been damaged leading to poor absorption of food. Silica may help repair the lining of the bowel in some circumstances and assist the absorption of nutrients.


Sulphur matches the animal which appears untidy and where the coat is out of condition. The type of diarrhea that responds is worse in the morning and leads to soreness around the rectum. Sulphur is also the main remedy to use where diarrhea arises in association with conventional (suppressive) treatment of a skin condition. Dosing Example: 30c given twice daily.

Other causes of chronic diarrhea:

It is not always possible to isolate a definite cause but you should consider the possibility of poisoning, diarrhea induced by drugs or diarrhea caused by moulds or mycotoxins. Each case needs to be assessed individually and symptoms carefully matched to an appropriate remedy.

For a complete guide in learning how to give a remedy, repeat the dose and what potency to use for animals in both acute and chronic disease we recommend…

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