Can Colitis Be Caused By Stress
Although stress can be responsible for triggering a flare-up of symptoms, stress is currently not thought to cause ulcerative colitis. Instead, researchers think stress exacerbates it. The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but some people have a greater risk for developing this condition.
Symptoms Of Colitis In Dogs
The most prominent symptom of colitis in dogs is diarrhea. Other canine colitis symptoms include:
- Difficulty and straining while defecating
- Pain and inflammation in the abdomen
- A sense of sudden urgency
- Increased defecation with small volume
- Fresh blood present in stool
- Mucus or slime present in stool
- Dehydration from loss of fluids
- Irregular eating habits
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Colitis In Dogs: Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Colitis in dogs is a painful and unpleasant condition that can cause your canine companion to have diarrhea and stomach upset. Thankfully, with proper treatment, colitis can go away quickly.
Read on to find out more about the symptoms of colitis in dogs, how to distinguish colitis from a simple stomach upset, and the treatment options that you have available.
Pro Tip: Trips to the vet can be expensive without financial assistance. Pet insurance offers pet parents the ability to provide better medical care for their loved ones by reimbursing a portion of covered veterinary expenses paid out-of-pocket.
Diagnosis Of Colitis In Dogs
If your dog has diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, a thorough diagnostic evaluation by your pets veterinarian can rule out the causes for either chronic or acute colitis in dogs. A thorough history can identify acute causes, such as stress-related colitis or garbage gut if your dog got into the trash, explains Dr. Dawn Spangler, DVM, assistant professor of shelter medicine at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine in Tennessee. If its a more chronic case, a fecal exam to identify any intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms or whipworms should be done initially.
In addition to testing for parasites, Dr. Maher notes that your veterinarian may also perform antigen blood tests for giardia and histoplasmosis, a fecal culture for bacteria and fungal infections, genetic PCR testing for certain pathogenic bacteria, bacterial enterotoxin testing, fungal antibody testing, imaging studies like radiographs or abdominal ultrasound and ultimately a colonoscopy with a biopsy of the colon. A clinical diagnosis of acute colitis is often based on an assessment of the symptoms as relayed by their owner, along with a physical examination of the patient and visual observation of fecal character, he adds.
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What Is Canine Colitis
Colitis in dogs is due to an inflammation in the colon, also known as the large intestine. In this final part of the digestive system, the most amount of water is absorbed. Therefore, any condition that stems from this section of the intestine will result in the production of watery diarrhea.
Colitis is either acute or chronic. The type will manifest itself in different symptomatology, despite having the common symptom of diarrhea.
Acute colitis recurs in a short space of time. Whereas, if a dog is suffering from chronic colitis it will experience diarrhea for 2-3 weeks will possibility of recurrence. However not all diarrhea is considered to be colitis, as inflammation can occur in other areas of the digestive system, and therefore will hold a different name.
Diagnosing Colitis In Dogs
If you suspect your dog has colitis, take them to the vet right away for examination. Your vet will check your dogs history to rule out any other conditions and will likely request a stool sample so they can search for the presence of worms or other parasites.
In some cases, X-rays and/or ultrasounds may also be carried out to look for possible foreign bodies or obstructions in the digestive tract. Blood counts, colonoscopies or colon biopsies may be required too to try and identify the cause of the colitis.
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Most Holistic Vets Will Recommend A Grain
It is important to consider a diet for dogs with colitis carefully. The foods you give your dog can impact digestive health and either improve or exacerbate symptoms. Most holistic vets will recommend grain-free recipes. This is because grains can increase the risk of sensitivity in the GI tract and contribute to inflammation.
What Breeds Are More At Risk For Colitis
Dr. Maher notes that colitis in dogs is more prevalent in certain breeds. The Boxer, for example, is known to be predisposed to a specific form of colitis caused by an E. Coli bacterial infection, while German Shepherd Dogs can be predisposed to the development of inflammatory bowel disease and colitis can be a component.
Pet owners should keep in mind that symptoms like diarrhea are the bodys way of detoxifying itself so while that loose, mucous-y stool can definitely be concerning, it can also be a sign that your dogs body is doing what it needs to do to get back on track, Dr. Goldstein adds.
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Histiocytic Ulcerative Colitis In Dogs
Ulcerative colitis in dogs affects the large intestines and is often associated with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel disorder. With this condition, there is a malfunction of the immune system in which histiocytes penetrate the intestines of your dog.
Bulldogs and boxer breeds are prone to this condition and it is suspected to be as a result of a defect in the immunity system. Histiocytic ulcerative colitis is characterized by ulcers in addition to inflammation of the colon. It is mostly treated and managed through strict dietary schedules.
What Are The General Symptoms Of Ibd
The location within the digestive tract and the severity of inflammation affect symptoms of IBD in dogs.
Chronic vomiting. If your dogs stomach is inflamed, it can lead to chronic vomiting. While their symptoms may not seem to have any identifiable cause, there may be a pattern in certain food or treats that irritate the condition.
Chronic diarrhea. If inflammation is primarily located in the small intestine, your dog may have diarrhea or the presence of blood and mucus in their poop. While occasional diarrhea and mucus are normal, blood is always considered an emergency.
Weight Loss. If your dog has unexplained weight loss, they may not be eating because of their IBD symptoms. If you notice a decrease in your dogs appetite that is causing weight loss, talk to your veterinarian.
They may seem lethargic or have a slight change in appetite if their inflammation is mild or in beginning stages of the condition. Early intervention is key for addressing IBD in dogs. Any changes in your dogs bowel habits or appetite that persist for more than a couple of days are cause for concern and should be addressed with your veterinarian.
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Is Colitis In Dogs Deadly
Colitis is also very treatable and preventable.
Find out more here about what causes Colitis and how to make sure that your dog doesn’t get it.
Colitis in dogs is an irritation of the colon and is a common malady.
The big ones are stress, infection or parasites, allergies, or any of several bowel diseases.
Symptoms Of Colitis In A Cocker Spaniel
When a dogs colon, or the large bowel, gets inflamed, colitis may result. Oftentimes, what the poop looks like is an indicator of whats causing the trouble. Bright red blood can indicate canine colitis while a dark, tarry stool is generally not from the large bowel and may indicate internal bleeding. Either way, blood in a dogs poop should always warrant a vet visit.
Pro Tip: Its always a good idea to know what your dogs normal poop looks like so when something is wrong, you can call the vet.
When my dog first developed signs of colitis, in addition to the bloody stool which had a mucus texture to it, he appeared to strain during defecation quite a bit. Sometimes he produced a bowel movement, but other times just a few droplets would come out that had a bright red tinge to them, as seen in the photo below.
When you know what normal is in your dog, its easy to then act on abnormal when it happens. As a lifelong Cocker Spaniel mom, I know that one of the signs of gastric distress in dogs is they cant sit still or their backs may arch.
My dog, Dexter, paced rapidly when he felt the need to evacuate his bowels. Every time he tried to poop, very little came out.
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Natural Treatments For Dog Colitis
Chronic colitis is more difficult to control. This is especially true if its due to an allergic response, or an autoimmune condition. Conventional treatments are similar to what happens with human colitis. These can include heavy -duty drugs, including steroids.
Colitis that doesnt resolve quickly needs to be checked. Sometimes, its caused by a parasite. Or, your dog may be eating something youre not aware of, but doesnt agree with him. There could also be something stuck in his intestines.
If your dog isnt seeing a holistic vet, and youre not 100 percent happy with his conventional care, now might be an excellent time to make a switch. Practitioners with a more holistic mindset are more likely to recommend natural remedies for dog colitis.
Some holistic animal care experts strongly suggest gluten-free, grain-free diets for dogs. However, if your dog already suffers intestinal distress, you should do this only with medical help. A sudden dietary change can exacerbate the problem.
What Causes Colitis In Dogs
There are many factors which cause colitis in dogs. Majorly, it is caused by the following:
Parasitic Colitis is caused by parasites commonly, of whipworms which reside in the upper colon. Whipworms are intestinal parasites. They live in the upper colon and are capable of growing up to two to three inches long.
The whipworm is one of the most common intestinal parasites of dogs. The presence of few whipworms in your dogs intestines rarely causes a problem, but if they multiply into the great number they can cause irritation and inflammation of the intestine.
Other parasites that may cause it are Roundworms, Hookworms, Tapeworms, and Heartworms. Each worm has different means of making its way into your dogs digestive tract and causes inflammation.
Your dog may become infected with whipworms by swallowing infective whipworm eggs in the soil and other substances that may contain dog feces.
Roundworm eggs, on the other hand, may be transmitted from the mother to the puppy for its dormant larvae in their tissue.
Hookworms can be transmitted from feces or directly through the skin when the dog walks through wet grass or sand where the larvae are active.
Protozoans, Flukes or trematodes can also cause parasitic colitis.
Bacteria which cause colitis include Salmonella and Campylobacter. The bacteria can be derived from other animal feces which has the bacteria present.
- Foreign Bodies or Dietary Indiscretion
- Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease
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Can Stress Colitis In Dogs Go Away On Its Own
The good news is that stress colitis is thought to be a self-limiting disease, meaning it will resolve on its own without any treatment. However, there are diets, medications, and supplements that can help your dog to recover faster. Treatment for stress colitis usually depends on your dog’s symptoms.
Causes Of Colitis In Dogs
Colitis in dogs is caused by internal or external stress that triggers inflammation in the large intenstine. Diarrhea is a clinical sign of many health disorders, so it can often be hard to pin down the underlying problem without diagnositic tests.
Other causes of canine colitis include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Colon cancer in senior dogs
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Fungal infections
- Damage or injury to the large intestine
- Poor eating habits or dietary indiscretion
- Chronic exposure to wet environments
- Swallowing a foreign object
- Ingestion of contaminated food or water
- A secondary reaction to medications
- Direct or indirect contact with an infected animal
In some cases, the answer to what causes colitis in dogs can be very vague or highly specific. For example, ulcerative colitis refers to a continuous inflammation of the canines colon for a variety of possible reasons, whereas granulomatous colitis is a rare, breed-specific condition that only affects breeds like French Bulldogs and Boxers.
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How Can I Help My Dog Handle Stressful Situations
In order to differentiate stress signs from normal behavior, you must be familiar with your dogs regular demeanor. Then you can tell if he is licking his lips because he is anxious or because he wants a treat.
When relaxed, he will have semi-erect or forward-facing ears, a soft mouth, and round eyes. He will distribute his weight evenly on all four paws. Distinguishing normal behavior from stress signs will help you quickly and effectively diffuse an uncomfortable situation.
“If your dog is stressed, first remove him from the stressor.”
If your dog is stressed, first remove him from the stressor. Find a quiet place for him to regroup. Resist the urge to overly comfort him. If you want to pamper him with petting or treats, make him earn them first by performing an activity . Responding to routine commands distracts the dog and provides a sense of normalcy. It is amazing how comforting sit, down, and heel can be to a worried dog.
If your dog becomes consistently stressed, see your veterinarian. After ensuring that your dogs behavior does not have a medical basis, your veterinarian may refer you to a trainer or veterinary behaviorist to evaluate stress-related issues. They may also prescribe anxiety-reducing medications if appropriate.
What To Feed A Dog With Diarrhea From Colitis
If your veterinarian has confirmed the diarrhea is from colitis, he or she will likely recommend an easy-on-the-gut diet for a period of time.
Drugs that suppress diarrhea dont solve long-term problems, so its in your dogs best interest to figure out what caused the problem.
Knowing what caused your Cocker Spaniels colitis will help prevent it in the future. However, if food is the culprit, an acute condition can become chronic. Think about a new car that you fill up with the wrong type of gasoline. Sooner or later, things will break down.
I fed Dexter boiled lean organic ground beef and gave it in small quantities several times a day with boiled white rice, again in small quantities.
As we eased back into regular food, I added Dr. Harveys Canine Health to his lean organic ground beef, which I continued to boil for a week. A lot of dogs develop hypersensitivity to dog food, so I took great comfort in feeding Dexter his normal food as his gut healed.
Dogs who relapse after antibiotics stop may find themselves in a vicious cycle. I know because my first Cocker Spaniel succumbed to complications of IBD. If the colitis returns, your dog may need further testing like x-rays, a scan, or even a colonoscopy.
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What To Feed A Dog With Colitis
The best dog food for colitis depends on the cause of the inflammation.
For colitis which may be caused by intolerance of grains in the diet, it is appropriate to switch their diet to a grain-free raw diet. Generally, you may want to:
When your dog is experiencing colitis, some food supplements can be suggested the best dog food supplement may include:
- N-Acetyl Glucosamine
This from of glucosamine helps repair the intestinal lining
- L-glutamine and Slippery Elm Bar
This can also soothe the digestive tract and relieve inflammation
- Fish Oil which can help break the inflammatory cycle in colitis
Giving you dog proper attention when it comes to their health is a way to prevent your dog to experience any illness, pain or disease. As already stated above, there are many causes of colitis, so it is better if you could think of ways on how to prevent the cause which could harm your dog.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure!
Prevention Is Key For Stopping Canine Colitis
For the average dog owner, it is much smarter to focus on the prevention end of the spectrum than the treatment end. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can employ to help prevent your dog from dealing with colitis.
None are foolproof, but they will help improve your pups chances of having problem-free poops.
Keep your dogs stress level low. Stress is one of the most common causes of colitis, so do your best to keep your dog happy and well-exercised. Ensure he gets plenty of attention and affection, and that he has a safe place to which he can retreat whenever he likes.
Keep your dogs food and water dish clean. Dirty food and water dishes can serve as a buffet for bacteria. Given your dogs intimate relationship with these items, it makes good sense to wash his dishes daily. Dont forget to wash any other items that contact your pets food, such as the scoop you keep in the food bag.
Avoid wet, filthy areas when playing outside with your pup. Bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites all lurk in wet, dirty areas like mud puddles and debris piles. While outdoor time neednt be a sterile activity, it is wise to avoid obviously sketchy areas.
Avoid allowing your dog contact with sick dogs. Some infections are communicable, meaning that your dog could catch them from other dogs. This doesnt mean that you shouldnt let your dog play with other dogs, but keep an eye out for dogs exhibiting tummy troubles, and steer your dog clear of them.
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