Common Gut Health Issues In Dogs

The organs that make up the dog’s digestive system are the same as in humans: the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver and pancreas. They are in the same order, play roughly the same role, and can be affected by similar ailments. What are the most common gut health issues in dogs?

A dog’s diet can have a significant impact on his gut health. Highly digestible food rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, with a moderate amount of fat help prevent irritation to the fragile digestive system. Digestive disorders can be acute or chronic, and may sometimes require an in-depth examination to identify the cause.  

Common gut health issues in dogs

Diarrhea

Diarrhea, is one of the most common digestive problems, linked to an increased volume of water inside the digestive tract.

There are two main types of diarrhea:

  • Acute diarrhea: Too watery and/or too frequent stools, progressing over less than 15 days.
  • Chronic diarrhea: Too watery and/or too frequent stools, for more than 15 days.

The physiological mechanisms are the same in both cases, but the causes are different.

Among the causes of chronic diarrhea are general diseases such as pancreatic insufficiency, certain tumors, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, etc.

Acute diarrhea can be due to the ingestion of foreign bodies, stress, a change in diet, eating rotten food in the garbage, etc. 

The veterinarian will also distinguish between diarrhea of ​​the small intestine and that of the colon; based on the frequency of bowel movements and appearance stool. In some cases, he may recommend additional examinations such as digestive ultrasound and colonoscopy. Are you interested in more information about dog diarrhea? Read full article here.

Gastritis

It is the case of an irritated and inflamed stomach, and it can be acute or chronic. Acute gastritis is often caused by a substance that is bad for the dog’s health like poison, swallowing of an indigestible object, some plants, internal parasites, stress and food allergies. It can also be a symptom of a viral or bacterial infection, kidney or liver disease, or even parasites. Chronic gastritis, on the other hand, is a consequence of extended acute gastritis that gradually damages the intestinal flora in the digestive system. 

Constipation

Constipation is characterized by decreased bowel movement, usually accompanied by pain while defecating. Various causes can lead to constipation like insufficient fiber and water intake, absorption of hair, bones or other foreign objects, ageing, tumors, trauma or fractures, prostate disease, medical illness of the spinal cord, nervous disorders of the large intestine, metabolic or endocrine disorders and debilitation.

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Leaky gut syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome in dogs occurs when the semi-permeable lining of the small intestine is damaged. This inner wall allows nutrients to pass into the bloodstream while keeping toxins, undigested foods and other unwanted substances inside the small intestine. In the case of intestinal hyperpermeability, also known as a leaky gut syndrome, the wall becomes too porous, allowing all these things to pass into the bloodstream.

How can you spot symptoms of leaky gut syndrome in dogs and what is the best treatment? Read more here.

Colitis

As the membranes of the gastrointestinal tract are generally very delicate, the inflammation of the colon membrane lining is referred to as colitis. It can be acute or chronic, and the most common causes are parasites (whipworms), tumors, polyps, diet change, allergies, foreign bodies and other illnesses.

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the inflammation or infection of the pancreas, an elongated, conical gland located behind the stomach. The exact origin is unknown, but potential causes are high-fat foods, infections and trauma. Symptoms of pancreatitis to watch out for: diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and dehydration. Chronic pancreatitis can have more severe consequences. 

Intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)

Intestinal bacterial overgrowth is the occurrence of a significant amount of bacteria that prevents the absorption of nutrients and can cause malnutrition problems.

How to prevent gut health issues in dogs

Preventing gastrointestinal upset in your dog is not hard; make sure you are providing a good quality diet, adapted to the specific needs of your dog. As well as take the right precautions so that he doesn’t swallow anything dangerous to his health. 

Also note that digestive symptoms are not necessarily specific to digestive diseases, but can indicate a completely different condition. Whatever the nature of your dog’s symptoms, caution is always required. Always consult your veterinarian as soon as the first signs of discomfort appear.

 

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