WHEN YOUR DOG REALLY NEEDS A BEST FRIEND
Gastroenteritis is an irritation of the stomach and intestines; it usually results in vomiting and diarrhea. One of the leading causes of gastroenteritis is feeding a pet “people” food or table scraps. Others may include metabolic disorders, ingesting inappropriate things like garbage or feces, inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, bacteria, viruses or allergies. An obstruction in the digestive tract can also trigger gastroenteritis, so a missing sock or favorite family ornament could also be the culprit.
ALL DOGS ARE AT RISK:
Gastroenteritis can bring on extreme vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration and an electrolyte balance. If dehydration is not treated promptly, it can lead to kidney failure and even death. And all dogs – puppies, too – are at risk.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if the vomiting and diarrhea persist. Also be aware if your pet seems listless or depressed, or if you see blood in the stool. Because there are so many causes of gastroenteritis, be sure to provide the veterinarian with a thorough description of your dog’s medical history and daily habits, as well as recent symptoms, in order to identify the underlying cause. A combination of tests may be recommended.
Regardless of the cause, dogs with gastroenteritis are often dehydrated and will need to be given fluids, either under the skin or directly into a vein. Depending on the severity, your dog may be hospitalized to get the diarrhea and vomiting under control. In less severe cases, your veterinarian may give you medications and instructions to care for your pet at home. It is very important that you follow the treatment instructions carefully to reduce the chance of the diarrhea recurring.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST MEDICINE:
Follow these guidelines to keep your dog healthy:
- Watch what he eats; raw or under-cooked foods increase the risk of bacterial infection
- Keep him free of parasites with monthly preventatives
- Keep vaccinations current
- Submit your dog’s fecal samples to your veterinarian
- Keep your dog away from trash and other unfamiliar items, such as people food
- Restrict your dogs contact with potentially sick dogs in public places, like the park and boarding facilities
If you have any questions or concerns, call your veterinarian – your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.