Digestive Problems in Canines

by Shellie Alyssa
    Most canine digestive problems clear up within a few days.

    Most canine digestive problems clear up within a few days.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    Digestive problems in dogs can affect the intestines and stomach, plus alter the passage through the digestive track and reduce the absorption and digestion of food. Frequent causes of digestive problems include stress, a virus, change in diet or consuming something that upsets the system. Diarrhea and vomiting are a common symptom when digestive problems are present. It's the natural way the body eliminates harmful toxic substances from the system.

    Gastrointestinal Disease

    Gastrointestinal disease impairs a dog's ability to absorb nutrients and digest food. Potential causes are trauma, toxins, medications, infectious agents, parasites, indiscretionary eating, foreign objects, allergies or an abrupt change in diet. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, excess gas, difficulty swallowing, constipation and loss of appetite. The digestive problem can originate in the liver, stomach, pancreas, mouth and intestinal tract. Veterinarians will conduct diagnostic tests to determine the cause and course of treatment. Diagnostic tests may include radiographs, laboratory analyses and an endoscopy procedure. Treatment consists of medical management, dietary management and at times, abdominal surgery.

    Acute Gastroenteritis

    Acute gastroenteritis is an infection or inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, mainly the intestines and stomach. Common causes are consuming rancid or spoiled food, stress, food allergies, internal parasites, consumption of toxic plants and swallowing foreign objects. Symptoms include soft stools, weakness, constipation, vomiting regurgitation, flatulence and diarrhea. Seek veterinarian assistance or rush your dog to the nearest animal hospital at the first sign of symptoms.

    Colitis - Chronic Inflammation

    Colitis is chronic or acute inflammation of the membrane that lines the colon. The large intestine becomes inflamed and produces painful and frequent passing of feces. Blood and mucus in the stool is the main symptom of colitis. Chronic inflammation is caused by allergies, changes in food and diet, swallowed foreign objects, whipworms, polyps or tumors. Consult a veterinarian immediately at first signs of symptoms.

    Pancreatitis - Infection and Inflammation

    Pancreatitis is an infection or inflammation of the pancreas. Potential causes include obesity, medications, disease, bacterial or viral infection, trauma and food that is high in fat. Difficulty breathing, vomiting, lack of appetite, fever, fatigue, increased heart rate, diarrhea and a painful abdomen are all signs of pancreatitis. Visit the veterinarian immediately upon noticing your dog experiencing any of these signs. Veterinarians will check blood work for nutritional imbalances, in addition to conducting an X-ray to check for pancreatic damage. Insulin levels and pancreatic and liver enzymes also will be analyzed. Veterinarians also will check for a reflux condition and gallstones. Treatment usually requires fluid treatment to help blood flow and potassium and electrolyte supplements.

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    About the Author

    Shellie Alyssa is an experienced writer with expertise in pets, travel, food and fashion. In 2000, she was awarded an editors choice award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry from the International Library of Poetry. She has a fashion merchandising diploma from Penn Foster Career College.

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