Colitis in Dogs
Colitis is defined as inflammation of the colon. The colon, also known as the large bowel or large intestine, is the end of a dog’s digestive tract. Waste products (feces) move from the colon through the anus out into the environment. Colitis can be caused by anything that inflames or irritates the large intestine. Some of the most common causes are bacterial and parasitic infections, trauma, allergies, dietary indiscretion and immune system abnormalities. High-strung, stressed, nervous dogs are particularly predisposed to developing colitis. The symptoms of this condition include diarrhea, intestinal cramping, nausea and pain. Defecating is uncomfortable, and affected dogs often squat and strain for prolonged periods of time while they try to relieve themselves. Dogs with colitis tend to have loose, unformed stools that may contain a mixture of mucus and blood. Fortunately, once the cause of colitis is identified, most dogs can be treated and return to their normal lives.
Colitis is commonly caused by one of the various disorders that contribute to inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. These include lymphocytic-plasmacytic enterocolitis, eosinophilic enterocolitis, granulomatous enteritis, neutrophilic enterocolitis and histiocytic ulcerative colitis, among possible others. Infectious causes of colitis are also common – especially from salmonella, campylobacter, giardia, Escherichia coli, histoplasma and/or clostridium. Internal parasites – particularly canine whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) - often contribute to colitis in dogs. Traumatic injuries from foreign bodies, physical
Colitis, which simply means inflammation of the colon, is reportedly responsible for up to thirty to fifty percent of the cases of chronic diarrhea in domestic dogs. The colon is the center portion of the large intestine, located between the cecum (the first part) and the rectum (the last part). When the colon become inflamed for whatever reason, substances called inflammatory cytokines begin to accumulate there, disrupting the normal cellular structure and junctions of colonic
A veterinarian presented with a dog with symptoms of colitis (straining to defecate and diarrhea combined with fresh blood and mucus) will normally isolate the problem to the colon. Physical examination findings (including abdominal palpation) are usually normal, although some dogs may be underweight and inappetent or painful on palpation of their abdomen, depending upon the cause of their colitis. The results of a urinalysis and routine blood work, including a complete blood count and
Treatment of colitis is directed toward resolving the underlying condition or conditions that are causing the colon to become inflamed. Most cases of canine colitis, which is inflammation of the middle portion of the large intestine, can be treated on an out-patient basis. However, if prolonged diarrhea and/or vomiting have caused severe dehydration, the dog may need to be hospitalized so that intravenous fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy can take place. Fasting for 24 to