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Causes and Prevention of Colitis in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Causes of Canine Colitis

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 trauma or abrasive ingested items, are also causes of canine colitis. Allergic conditions and immunosuppressive disorders are other frequent contributors to inflammation of the colon. Colitis can be associated with irritable bowel syndrome, which is a gut motility disorder most commonly seen in high strung, stressed, nervous dogs. Colitis can also be caused by dietary indiscretion, because as most dog owners know, dogs often eat things that they really shouldn’t.

Fungal infections, and a very serious blue-green algae-related disease called Prototheca colitis, are uncommon causes of colitis. They tend to affect dogs with weakened immune systems. Prototheca algae live on both raw and treated sewage and are contaminants of food, soil and water. They can be found in fresh fecal matter, as well.


One of the best ways to prevent colitis in companion dogs is to keep them away from sources of infectious microorganisms and parasites. Owners should take all necessary steps to keep their dogs from ingesting foreign objects or sharp or abrasive substances that could be irritating or penetrating. Keeping dogs from roaming freely about the neighborhood will greatly reduce the risk of dietary indiscretion. It is always wise to avoid very abrupt changes in diet or in the source of a dog’s water supply. Routine de-worming will help to reduce the risk of internal parasite-related colitis.

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