by Matthew Wismayer
The food we and our pets eat is in a form that needs to be broken down for the body to use it properly. This is done first in the mouth by chewing (though some dogs don’t chew much) and the enzymes in saliva. Enzymes are proteins that break down into smaller parts other particles. Mostly the enzymes in the mouth deal with break down of carbohydrates (complex sugars).
Then the acid in the stomach plays a part in digestion and also in communicating the need for the release of other digestion compoounds. The stomach also produces an enzyme (a protease) that helps break down protein into absorbable and usable molecules.
The pancreas is a main player in the digestion game making amylase which breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugar and lipase which handles fats. It also makes a number of proteases to help with the break down of protein.
The liver and gall bladder system also produce bile which aids in the handling of fats.
The normal flora of the gut help with digestion by producing cellulase which breaks down the digestible fiber portion of foods and some also make proteases as well.
If any of the above are missing, inhibited or altered a problem occurs where the food stays too large to be absorbed by the gut and therefore causes a diarrhea problem. Nausea, vomiting, and weight loss as well as other symptoms may occur as well.
The large particles cause water to stay in the gut making diarrhea. The gut bacteria and yeast can overgrow or become toxic in their activites in that environment as well.
Such things can occur during and after a bought of pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas causing dysfunction of it). Liver or gall bladder disease as well can cause this problem. Antibiotics for other issues can throw off the normal flora and create a diarrhea from that cause.
To help with this maldigestion (mal=bad) syndrome, you can use easily digested diets, supplement enzymes and probiotics and sometimes certain antibiotics are needed if the good bacteria have gone “bad”.
I hope you never have to deal with this issue. But if you do have a pet that develops a chronic, seeming unresolving diarrhea, I hope this helps.