Colitis In Dogs – A Brief Introduction
Having a deeper understanding of the kinds of illnesses that can occur in your dog, as well as their treatment options can help to assuage some of that fear. Here, we're going to take a look into colitis in dogs, and what you can do to help your dog to feel better.
What Is Colitis In Dogs?Dog Colitis can also be known as “large bowel diarrhea”. It's typically a condition in which the colon or large intestines become inflamed. Typically, this can result in loose stools or diarrhea of various types. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, then knowing the types of colitis can be useful in helping them.
Colitis TypesFor the most part, there are three types of colitis that your dog can suffer from. These types are Acute, Chronic and Episodic. Each includes different frequencies of symptoms that can help to point towards the type as well as the cause.
Keep in mind that knowing the cause of your dog's colitis is extremely important. In some cases, it takes quite a bit more than waiting it out or a diet change to solve the problem. It's not always easy to tell what the cause may be just by watching the behaviors.
AcuteThis is a type of canine colitis that can begin suddenly. Often, you'll notice that your dog seems to be normal aside from staining to defecate or experiencing diarrhea. Typically, this type will resolve by itself without much human intervention. However, because of this the cause can sometimes go undiagnosed. This can mean that the problem may show up in the future.
Typically, the inflammation that comes with this type of colitis happens very suddenly and results from an irritant.
Some such irritants may include:
- Toxin ingestion
- Eating something unpleasant to dog bodies
- Food intolerance
- Consuming foreign bodies
- Dietary changes
- Internal parasites
ChronicUnlike acute colitis, which can resolve rather quickly, chronic colitis can carry on for months or years. During this time, the symptoms may appear to go away for periods of time, but then return. As time goes on, this type can also become worse. For this type of colitis, a dog can also include symptoms aside from diarrhea, pointing to a deeper condition that a dog may have.
EpisodicEpisodic colitis can be seen as something in between acute and chronic colitis. Typically, it can last for several weeks and the symptoms can be just about anywhere on the spectrum. However, unlike chronic colitis, it does typically resolve by itself and doesn't cause remaining effects.
What Causes Colitis In Dogs?It's important to know the different things that can result in colitis, as they can vary depending on the kind of colitis your dog is experiencing.
1. Parasites Or Infection
Parasites can become quite a nasty problem for your dog.
These parasites may include:
- E. coli
- And More
Keep an eye on what your dog eats and drinks, and where it's coming from. For example, try bringing along a collapsible bowl when you're out and about rather than allowing your dog to drink from puddles or other natural, potentially infested, water sources.
2. TraumaTrauma that can cause colitis in your dog may include physical trauma, consuming a foreign body, or eating something that doesn't agree with a dog's digestive system. In addition, dietary indiscretion can result in IG tract injury as well as acute colitis. Consequently, it's wise to make sure they only eat what they are supposed to.
3. AllergiesIt can be tough to diagnose dog allergies efficiently. If you haven't made any changes to your dog's lifestyle, then it might still be worth taking a look at their food to make sure it's providing everything they need and avoiding ingredients that can be irritating to dogs.Both environmental and food allergies can result in colitis in your dog. Furthermore, medication allergies can also result in colitis that is associated with antibiotics. If you notice a sudden bout of colitis, then consider any recent changes made to your dog's food, water or medications.
4. Stress DiarrheaJust like in humans, stress can also result in colitis for dogs. Things like travel, moving, guests or other changes in their home can result in stress and anxiety for dogs. Depending on what that stressor might be, it can result in any type of colitis.
This is another thing to consider when your dog is experiencing colitis. If there have been any major moves or changes to the home, it may be causing them stress colitis. Once you've located a stressor, relieving it is likely to assist with the symptoms they're experiencing. Otherwise, a trip to a vet may help.
5. Other Diseases
There are other illnesses that can also contain colitis as a symptom.
Disorders to consider may include:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease ailments, including:
- Eosinophilic enterocolitis
- Neutrophilic enterocolitis
- Lymphocytic plasmacytic enterocolitis
- Granulomatous enteritis
- Histiocytic ulcerative colitis
Furthermore, it's worth knowing that breeds like the German Shepherd can be more likely to develop Lymphocytic plasmacytic enterocolitis, while Boxers can be prone to Histiocytic ulcerative colitis.
There can also often be a link between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and stress.
Dog Colitis SymptomsFor the most part, the symptoms of colitis are much the same regardless of the type. These symptoms include the following.
1. Diarrhea With BloodAs can be expected, diarrhea can often be watery. However, dog colitis can also contain bloody stool. You'll be able to notice this pretty easily as the blood will be fresh and bright.
2. Straining Or Urgency To DefecateThis is one of the more obvious signs out there. Essentially, your dog will behave as though they need to get outside to use the bathroom immediately. However, once they are out it will appear as though going to the bathroom is difficult, resulting in strain.
While straining, they may also experience abdominal pain and cramps, as well as inflammation around the anus.
3. Mucus In StoolYou may also notice fat or mucus in your dog's stool. This is a potential sign that they are experiencing colitis.
4. Small, Frequent Diarrhea BoutsThis is one of the most common symptoms out there for colitis. Simply put, your dog will need to go outside to defecate often, but will only have small amounts of diarrhea each time.
Chronic Colitis Symptoms
On top of the other symptoms listed, there are a few that may show up in chronic colitis, but not other types.
Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Appetite loss
- Lacking energy
- Increased time spent sleeping
- Poor coat quality
- Weight loss
- Overall body health appearing to decrease
Diagnosing And Treating ColitisWhile in some cases the colitis may clear up relatively quickly, in other cases you may decide to seek out the help of a vet in order to determine what might be causing your pup discomfort. This is going to be especially necessary for chronic colitis, which can get worse without treatment.
Once your vet has determined the cause, then they'll be able to come up with a course of action to get your dog back to their normal, happy selves. The good news is that in most cases, there are options that will allow you to ensure your canine companion gets the help they need.
There are a few tests your vet will have to enact in order to diagnose colitis.
These tests include:
- A profile for serum biochemistry
- A physical exam
- A complete blood count
Your vet may also want to get an X-ray of your pets abdomen. This is a good way to check for masses, tumors or fecal impaction as well as other physical abnormalities that might be contributing to the issue.
Finally, if the vet still isn't able to get a clear ideal of what is happening, then a colonoscopy may be needed. This can allow for additional testing through the removal of certain tissues. It will also allow your vet to check of any irregularities that the other tests may have missed.
Dog Colitis Treatment
Once the diagnosis of the colitis has been made, and the cause found, then treatment can begin. Because of this, an accurate diagnosis is key. When the cause isn't clear, treatment can include avoiding food for a day or two, then slowly beginning to provide them with a very plain diet.
This can help to determine what kind of diet will work best for a given dog. In some cases, that might be a hypoallergenic one, while in other cases it might be a low-fiber diet.
Furthermore, your vet may choose to prescribe:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Antimicrobial medications
- Immunosuppressive medications
Natural Colitis TreatmentsThere are a few treatment options out there that don't include medications that may help. These are worth trying, but keep in mind that they won't address all the causes of colitis. Discovering the cause will be the best way to ensure it's able to be treated completely.
Diet ChangeWhen your dog's diet is to blame, changing it up can be very helpful. This might include ceasing in giving them any “human” foods, changing to a raw diet if you choose, or sometimes seeking out a high-protein food. Your vet will be able to help with determining what diet will suit their needs best.
Removing StressorsIf the culprit is stress colitis in dogs, then removing the stressor can go a long way to decreasing their stress and allowing them to feel better. Limiting things like noise, or keeping them away from areas that might be high-energy if you have guests may be helpful.
CBD For DogsWhile it may not be a cure for colitis in itself, there are a number of ways in which CBD can help your dog. If you haven't heard much about it already, CBD is able to provide many benefits, and it's fully safe, natural and legal, and can easily be given to your pet!
Many who hear the term CBD may quickly relate it to marijuana plants. However, CBD is very different in that quality CBD comes from hemp plants, which contain little to no THC. As a result, your dog will not experience any “high”. They only receive the health benefits of the product.
CBD For Dog ColitisWhen it comes to acute or stress-based colitis, CBD can be a helpful way to relieve stress and keep them in a calmer state. Furthermore, it's great for relieving inflammation in the body, which can give them a little more comfort overall.
Top CBD ProductsCBD products are not only safe and natural, they can help with decreasing the necessity for dogs to require medications, which can come with a lot of nasty side effects. The following products are great options when you're looking for something to help your dog. Check them out, and keep in mind that some options can help other pets as well as dogs!
CBD OilCBD oil for dogs is a great way to give your pet a little extra boost, soothe discomfort and help them to calm down. It's very easy to dose and you can slowly increase the dosage to your comfort level as well as the correct dose for the dog you have. This is an option that can also be used for cats and horses, just make sure to use the correct dose!
While many customers can find that their pets don't really mind the taste of CBD oil, some pets may not enjoy it. In these cases, you can also opt to mix a small amount of it in with their food, where they are unlikely to notice it.
CBD TreatsAnother fantastic option for your dog is CBD dog treats. What makes this option great is that as far as your dog is aware, they're just getting a delicious treat! However, they're actually also receiving some fantastic benefits that can leave them feeling better and more relaxed. These treats also come in three different flavors for them to enjoy!
To make sure that they get the correct dose, you can also refer to the simple diagrams on the back of each bag. That way, you won't have to worry about giving them too much. It's a very convenient product to use!
Colitis In Dogs: The Bottom LineThe stomach of your dog is a sensitive thing. It's not always easy to determine what is upsetting them, and they can't exactly tell you.
In many cases, it can simply be due to stress or the need for a diet change. However, it's always a good idea to get a diagnosis from a vet so that they can rule out any of the more serious causes. This is especially true if you notice the discomfort continues past just a couple of days.
The good news is that in the vast majority of cases, the prognosis for dogs suffering with colitis is very good. As long as they get the correct treatment, the problem can be resolved in just days. The best way to solve the problem is to get the correct diagnosis and address the problem thoroughly. Then your dog will be back to normal!
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
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