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Colitis in Dogs

Colitis in Dogs

Colitis in dogs is the inflammation of the lining of the large intestine. This article covers some information that will help you understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of colitis in dogs.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Colitis in dogs is described as the inflammation of the colon that may be caused by a number of factors. The causes of this dog health problem include bacteria, stress, parasites, etc. Colitis may be an acute condition and may have a sudden onset for a short duration. It may also be a chronic condition that is present for about two to three weeks. Colitis leads to many bowel problems in the animal. The dog may strain while defecating or pass very little stool. Also, the dog will lose weight and become weak if you do not give it prompt treatment.

Common Causes
  • Intestinal parasites in dogs like hookworms, whipworms, and giardia cause irritation and inflammation of the intestine.
  • Foreign body colitis, that is, a dog that eats a lot of grass may develop acute colitis. The indigestible fiber in the stalks and stem of the grass may cause irritation to the intestine.
  • Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs (IBD).
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) due to stress or neurological origins.
  • Antibiotics that may be prescribed for some infection may wipe out the beneficial bacteria in the dog's guts. This may lead to colitis and you need to include yogurt and probiotics in the dog's diet for quick recovery.
  • Pancreatitis, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, or colon cancer may also be some of the common causes.
Acute causes
  • Overeating
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Eating stale food
  • Bacterial infection
  • Viral infections
  • Stress
  • Food allergy
Chronic causes
  • Malabsorption of food
  • Pancreatic disease
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Parasites
A dog affected by colitis may appear normal and have frequent mucous or some blood spots in its stools. Vomiting may be seen in severe cases. When the animal experiences severe pain while passing stools, it will stop defecating. This results in constipation or diarrhea. The common symptoms include the following.
  • Stools with jellylike mucus
  • Frequent passing of small stools
  • Blood spots in stools
  • Diarrhea
  • The consistency of stools varies from liquid to solid or mixture of both
  • Straining while passing stools
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
The treatment varies according to the cause. The vet may suggest some de-worming medication in case of colitis due to parasites. The vet may first identify the causative worm, such as whipworm, tapeworm, giardia, etc. and give medications accordingly. Some drugs help in paralyzing the parasite so that it gets digested and is passed out of the dog's system. Some medications kill the parasites, that too are removed from their system.

In case of irritable bowel syndrome, the dog will be put on a 'therapeutic diet' that helps eliminate the ingredients that cause irritation to the dog's bowels. The vet may recommend chicken, rice, cottage cheese, eggs, etc. that can be easily digested. If the cause is bacteria, then the doctor may advise antibiotics like metronidazole or azulfidine to treat the inflammation of the intestines.

A specific diet plays an important role in the long term treatment of the condition. The vet may advise a high-fiber diet that will help regulate the passage of food through the guts. It also helps in controlling the level of water in the stools. You can speak to the vet regarding the best possible diet for your dog.

Colitis is the inflammation of the intestine that cannot be transferred from one dog to another. It is basically a condition and not a disease. So rest your mind about whether it is contagious, as the answer is 'no'.
You need to choose dog foods that contain easily-digestible ingredients and follow a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet that is grain-free. Speak to the vet regarding any queries you have about colitis in dogs.