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Gastroenteritis in dogs refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract of a dog, meaning the stomach and the intestines. It can be caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, parasites, medications, or even new foods.

The condition often causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomitin­­­g, and/or other clinical signs. Gastroenteritis in dogs is a common condition that typically involves diarrhea and may be accompanied by vomiting.

Gastroenteritis can be either chronic (where it lasts for more than two weeks) or acute (this type doesn’t last long and will usually go away by itself in time, but may worsen as it goes on).

If you notice blood in your dog’s vomit or poop, it may be a sign of haemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs. This is a severe type of gastroenteritis in dogs.

Most commonly it will appear as almost a raspberry jam consistency in your dog’s stool. re may also be droplets of blood around your dog’s rectum. Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis is much more serious and urgent veterinary treatment will be required as soon as possible.

You suspect your dog has gastroenteritis you should contact your vet as soon as possible so that any underlying causes can be treated. Treatment can vary widely. In one case, it may be as simple as withholding food for a time. In another case, it could be as invasive as surgery.

Signs of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis in dogs typically starts with soft stool that becomes progressively wetter. Later on, you may notice mucus in the stool, your dog straining to produce a bowel movement and/or defecation in the house. Here are other common signs:

  • Explosive and/or frequent bowel movements
  • Tarry feces
  • Large volumes of watery stool
  • Blood in feces
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea (drooling, swallowing frequently)
  • Vomiting

Dogs may display one or many of these signs, depending on the disease’s severity and progression.

What causes gastroenteritis in dogs

The main reason for the condition is often unknown but possible causes include:

  • Dogs eating something they shouldn’t, such as spoilt food or non-food items
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Viruses or bacteria (such as parvovirus or distemper)
  • Toxins
  • Foreign bodies
  • Certain cancers
  • Underlying health conditions

Diagnosis of Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Gastroenteritis is diagnosed by the sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhea. Since the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are mirrored in a number of other conditions, you will need to provide your veterinarian with information to help narrow the possibilities down. 

Fecal testing can reveal the presence of viruses in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. This method is not always reliable and cannot detect all types of viral agents.

The veterinarian will most likely perform blood work and a urinalysis during the initial examination to rule out other, more serious conditions. The urinalysis will be helpful for detecting urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or general dehydration. Through the process of elimination, the veterinarian may attempt either abdominal radiographs, or abdominal ultrasounds. These tests will help the veterinarian search for any stomach or intestinal obstructions or other abnormalities

Treating gastroenteritis

Treatment will vary depending on the cause. Your vet will usually prescribe medication to stop the vomiting/diarrhoea. strict bland diet to allow your pup’s stomach to return to normal.

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis may be treated with an intravenous drip to rehydrate your dog.

Most cases of gastroenteritis can be cured within a few days. It is essential to keep an eye on your dog’s progress throughout this time. If your dog doesn’t appear to improve or gets worse, you should contact your vet immediately.


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