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Dog Intestinal Diseases – Some Common Problems

Dog Intestinal Diseases – Some Common Problems

The following describes some common canine intestinal problems seen occasionally in all dogs:

Gastric Torsion, Dilation, and Bloat:

This health problem is usually found in large and heavy breeds and occasionally in big crossbred dogs. There are several possibilities as to the cause regarding this often-fatal condition.

Allowing your dog to exercise right after a hearty meal is a factor that boosts gastric torsion. Another is the habit of feeding the large canine on the floor or ground.

Approximately two to six hours after eating, an affected dog’s stomach expands with gas and twists on its long axis. This distortion keeps the gas from getting out by burping. The dog repeatedly tries to throw up, but is not able to do so and spits thick saliva in small amounts. A veterinarian may attempt to pass a stomach tube to relieve the stomach gas, however due to the twist, those attempts are oftentimes unsuccessful.

Bloating causes sharp stomach pains, which is followed by shock. Quick surgery might spare the pet, but regrettably by the time the dog arrives at a veterinary hospital, it may be suffering from advanced toxemia (toxic substances in the blood) and attempts to save the pet might be too late.

There are a number of steps you can take that will help keep this condition from developing. Feed your dog when his physical activity is minimal. Elevate his food bowl by setting it on a porch step, which will minimize swallowing air. Feed frequent, small meals or give him free-choice feeding. Whenever you find it necessary to feed a large meal, make certain he stays quiet for an hour or so afterward. Don’t let him overindulge with water following a meal. Most importantly, cut back his activity after any meal.

Esophagitis, Enteritis, Gastritis, and Colitis:

The esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum are confluent and together are known as the gastrointestinal tract or simply the gut. The suffix – itis means inflammation of; therefore, esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus, gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach, enteritis is an inflammation of the large intestine or the lower bowel. These gut irritations are usually accompanied by a degree of enteritis, and enteritis generally has some colitis linked with it. In other words, the single word diagnoses are seldom technically right.

When your vet says that your dog is ailing from gastroenteritis, the cause of the gut irritation is more crucial than the diagnostic term implemented. If your dog displays watery diarrhea, throwing up, nausea, depression, and lack of normal appetite, we may think of food or chemical poisoning, however gastroenteritis may be caused by eating indigestible material such as steel wool pot scrubber. The same signs can be an indication of cancer of the liver. It’s important to remember that a gut irritation is a signal that might mean a dangerous, even life-threatening condition and should never be taken lightly.


Another type of gut problem is blockage or impaction. Most commonly seen in older dogs, constipation is oftentimes caused by bone chips and pieces. Your dog finds a nice juicy bone. He literally devours the mouth-watering morsel over the next hour, and swallows every bite. Bone pieces are not very digestible, thus, when these small chips reach the rectum where fluid is extracted from the waste, the result is a concrete block in the lower bowel. The same result might be seen when a dog licks and swallows wads of its hair.

As blockage begins to build up, the dog’s gut fills with food and waste that can not escape, and he loses his appetite and becomes lethargic (sluggish). Diagnosis is generally made by a vet’s palpation (examine by touch) of the solid mass in the dog’s lower bowel. Treatment is normally performed by enemas, which will provide liquids to the mass, break it up, and enable the dog to pass the impaction.

Pseudocoprostasis or False Constipation:

This condition is more common to long haired dogs of all ages, and normally is the result of soft stools and grooming negligence. It happens when the long hair in the area of the anus isn’t routinely trimmed back or combed and becomes matted with fecal matter. The fecal matting acts as a blockage of the gut, and signs similar to true constipation are seen.

Diagnosis is simple and can usually be made from across the room by the odor. Treatment is even simpler, although not very pleasant to do. The long hair and fecal matting needs to be carefully cut away to expose the skin surrounding the anul opening.