Diarrhea is unpleasant for many dogs, and the stomach upset that causes it can be attributed to many things.
Sometimes, the reason behind that issue is colitis instead – commonly confused for a tummy ache, but much, much worse, as it can eventually turn into a chronic diarrhea issue.
Colitis occurs when the large intestine, or colon, is inflamed. This often leads to diarrhea and stomach pain.
Common symptoms of colitis are as follows.
- Strain during defecation
- Liquid or semi-formed feces
- Frequent defecation
- Small amounts of feces
- Blood in stools
- Mucus in stools
There are multiple different causes of colitis. The most common ones are:
- Whipworms, which are parasites that live in the intestine and multiply quickly
- Cryptosporidium, another parasite
- Giardia, another parasite
- Eating bad, rotten food
- Chronic inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bacterial infection, such as from E. coli, Salmonella, Clostridium, and more
No matter the cause, the result is the same: a dangerous disease that requires fast treatment.
Any dog can develop colitis, but some are more predisposed than others. Factors involve:
- Age, especially in young puppies
- Environment, especially in areas where bacteria may grow easily
- Immunity, especially in dogs receiving cancer treatment
The most at risk breeds of colitis are those that are naturally more at risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease. These breeds are:
- French bulldogs
- German Shepherds
- Miniature schnauzers
A vet may ask many questions in order to diagnose your dog. They will ask about diet, social interaction, medical history, symptoms, and travel activity.
Dogs then go through a series of tests, including rectal exams, fecal tests, blood tests, and cytology. Radiographs, barium enemas, colonoscopy, and ultrasounds may also be necessary.
To reduce the risk of your dog developing colitis, you can:
- Ensure fresh water supply
- Bring fecal samples to annual vet check-ups
- Keep your dog away from harmful substances
- Keep up-to-date on preventative care and vaccinations
- Be aware of your dog’s diet
- Keep an eye on your dog after they eat something they shouldn’t have
Thankfully, colitis is very easily treated. As long as you notice when something is wrong, your vet will be able to help and your dog will come out no worse for wear!
Feature Image Source: Pixabay