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Gastrointestinal Disorders

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Gastrointestinal Disorders in Dogs

Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and diseases affect a dog's stomach and intestines, resulting in pain and other problems.

Your dog may have a GI disorder if he suffers from:

  • Vomiting
  • Regurgitation
  • Flatulence
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea/Constipation

Veterinarians recognize many potential types of GI disorders including:

  • Colitis: An acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane lining the colon. Most frequently caused by whipworms (a parasite), tumors or polyps, a change in food, allergies (including those to food), swallowed foreign objects and certain other diseases.
  • Constipation: Usually caused by insufficient fiber and water intake, eating hair, bones or other foreign objects, aging, tumors, trauma or fractures, prostate disease, spinal cord disease, large bowel nervous disorders, metabolic or endocrine disorders and debilitation.
  • Diarrhea: Caused by infections, internal parasites, stress, a change in pet food, table scraps or rich snacks, eating spoiled food from the garbage and body organ dysfunction.
  • Gastroenteritis: Inflammation or infection of the gastrointestinal tract, primarily the stomach and intestines. Causes may include eating rancid or spoiled food, swallowing foreign objects, eating toxic plants, internal parasites, stress, food allergies and disease conditions.
  • Pancreatitis: An inflammation or infection of the pancreas (an elongated, tapered gland that is located behind the stomach). Origins are frequently unknown. Potential causes are feeding foods high in fat or rich table foods, infections, disease or trauma.

Your dog's food can have a significant impact on his GI tract health. Veterinarians recommend feeding dogs a food that is highly digestible to help prevent irritation to sensitive stomachs and intestines. Also, high-soluble and insoluble fiber foods combined with moderate fat levels in your dog's food help support proper intestinal function. Because several of these conditions may be ongoing, long-term nutritional management of the disorder may be required.

For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.