Friday, November 23, 2007

Bowel Issues

Bowel issues are probably one of the most common issues with dogs, and also pretty elusive as far as actual diagnosis.  Depending on your vet, they may initially diagnose and treat as a "your dog ate something that didn't agree with it" and most of the time that type of treatment will work.

Its when the symptoms become chronic that more invasive and evasive diagnostics are necessary to figure out the main cause of the problem.

Some vets will use colitis, IBD, IBS, and pancreatitis interchangeably as an initial diagnosis of "your dog has an upset stomach".

In almost all of the initial treatments, your vet will recommend:
  • Fast the dog for 24 hours, just give limited amounts of water to reduce the chance of dehydration.
  • Either prescribe an anti-diarrheal, or tell you to give pepto bismol, or Immodium
  • Either prescribe or tell you to give your dog something to calm their stomach, such as Pepcid
  • After the fast, put your dog on a bland diet, either prescription or home cooked (chicken and rice)
  • If the issue gets worse, or does not resolve after a few days, return for further diagnostics.
All of these are a valid way to determine whether your dog just has a temporary stomach/bowel upset due to eating something they aren't use to, or allergic to, or whether there is another underlying cause.

If there's ever blood in the stool, or vomiting with diarrhea, it is best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet!

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A group of diseases of the small and large intestines, characterized by chronic and protracted diarrhea, malabsorption, weight loss, anemia, and malnutrition.  Treatable, but seldom cured.


Pet Education Link

American Rottweiler Club Resource

Marvistavet Resource page

AKC Resource Page

Support Groups

K9Kitchen Support Group 

IBDogs Support Group

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Chronic, occasional large bowel diarrhea, including frequent passage of small amounts of feces and mucus.  Constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and nausea may occur.  


PetMD Resource for IBS

Marvistavet Article on IBS

Support Groups

K9Kitchen Support Group 

Colitis: An inflammation of the colon, and responsible for about 50% of cases of chronic diarrhea in dogs.  Painful defecation, prolonged squatting and straining, flatulence, and passing many small stools mixed with blood and mucus.  Colitis requires a scope and a biopsy of the colon for actual diagnosis.  Most vets will rule out any other causes and then treat the symptoms if money is an issue in getting a definitive diagnosis.


Diarrhea: The passing of loose or liquid stool more often than normal.

Washington State University article

Webmd for pets on diarrhea

ASPCA on diarrhea

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a potentially life-threatening intestinal condition of the dog which manifests as sudden onset bloody, watery diarrhea.


Marvistavet HGE resource

Whole Dog Journal resource

One person's blog about the experience with their dog