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Colitis in Dogs
Colitis in dogs has many different forms and can be acute, chronic, or if severe enough, can develop into episodic episodes. Although it is not an immediate threat to your dogs life, it can over time severely impede a normal and healthy life. It is also quite common in all dogs, especially small dogs at least once in their lifetime. But if it persists and is not treated, your dog may never lead a normal life again.
It is also one of the most challenging conditions your dog will ever face as in most all cases the exact cause can not be identified.
What is Colitis?
Colitis in dogs is an inflammation of the colon or the large intestine in your pet. It is often confused with IBD, or irritable bowel disease, which is a collection of several specific disorders that are quite similar in nature. If all of the forms of colitis do come together, your dog now has a full blown case of IBD. However, separately, it is considered to be colitis.
What makes this condition so very difficult to actually identify and treat, is that it can be chronic, acute, or turn into a situation that can become very serious. Most dogs will have minor bouts of colitis and never show any serious symptoms or health problems unless it becomes acute or even worse, episodic. Episodic is much different that acute, in that it is sporadic but will occur in episodes. This can be dangerous as the episodes may begin to intensify in severity or may be triggered much easier as your dog ages.
Colitis in dogs in most every case will be a situation where your dog has some combination of fresh bright blood or mucus in their stool. If it is an acute form, interestingly enough they may show virtually no signs at all of any illness other than occasional vomiting. But if it chronic, they will start to show different symptoms.
Chronic colitis is easier to identify as the vomiting is now becoming more common. As a result of this, your dog will start to loss their appetite, become very lethargic, and will start to loss weight. Weight loss in dogs is always a danger sign as they are now beginning to lose much of the nutrients in their body. Once this occurs, you need to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
Colitis in dogs has several different forms and they can range from very mild to quite severe and threatening. The first form is referred to as Lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis and is considered one of the most common causes of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs as it combines with other conditions. The actual cause is still not known, but there are several opinions that it is the result of an over reaction by your dogs immune system.
The next form of colitis is referred to as histolytic ulcerative colitis, and is very breed specific. It is very common in boxers, especially young boxers, and is characterized by both ulcers as well as inflammation in the colon. The ulcers that are associated with this form of the disease are generally very deep in the colon wall, and as such, are referred to as deep ulcers. But like all cases of colitis, there is no real known cause why this happens.
The third form of this disease is called Granulomatous colitis, and it is considered to be very uncommon. However, if it does occur, it is extremely serious and resembles what is called Crohns disease in humans. With this form, there are very specific types of inflammatory cells that attack your dogs colon. It is also considered to be the least understood of the four forms.
The final form of colitis in dogs is called Eosinophilic colitis and is a type of white blood cell that is associated with an allergic reaction or some type of a parasite. Although like all other forms of this very challenging condition, there is no known cause but it is widely held that this form is the result of a food allergy or a parasite infection.
Colitis in dogs has no single known cause, but rather an entire litany of potential causes that is inflaming your pets colon. The first potential set of causes is believed to be by bacteria infections. These will include clostridia, salmonella, or E coli, or viral infections such as corona or parvo virus. Parasite infections as the result of whip worms or hook worms are also believed to trigger this inflammation.
Dietary intolerance, especially an allergic reaction to certain foods such as protein rich foods, can also cause this reaction, as well as lactose intolerance. If you give your dog any type of a dairy product including cheese that is on a piece of hamburger, you may be causing this inflammation. However, any type of spoiled food or a sudden change in your dogs diet may lead to the acute form that usually ends as soon as it passes entirely from your dogs system.
Trauma that is internal from some type of a foreign body that has entered your dogs system may also be the culprit, as well as external trauma. If your dog has been kicked, hit with a blunt object, or worse yet, hit by a car, it can also be a potential cause. But the list of potentials does not end here.
Colitis in dogs is may also be triggered by intussusception, which a situation where your dogs bowel actually folds or telescopes into itself. However, there are also some very dangerous diseases that may trigger colitis. HGE, also known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a very dramatic and often fatal disorder that occurs in many small breeds. It begins with inflammation of the colon and than turns into bloody diarrhea that very closely resembles raspberry jam in both consistency as well as appearance.
Colitis in dogs in over fifty percent of all cases is a one and done event. However, it can become chronic or turn into a situation where each bout starts becoming slightly more severe. You may never see the symptoms in the one and done cases, but you will if it persists. If your dog does start to lose weight or vomit excessively, there is a very good chance they have an advanced form of colitis.
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