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Our dogs give us so much pleasure that when they are ill or not quite themselves, it can be a very worrying time. Owners get to know their four-legged friends very well as time goes by, so when things are quite right, they pick up things sooner rather than later which is a very good thing. Most illnesses and diseases, when diagnosed early are much easier to treat and the prognosis is always that much better too.
If you are worried because your dog is passing blood in their faeces and looking very sorry for themselves, the chances are there is something going on which a vet would need to check out as soon as possible. Your dog might well be suffering from a condition known as Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) which would need to be treated as early as possible.
Symptoms they may have developed and which you need to keep an eye out for include the following:
The condition affects a dog's digestive tract causing inflammation and bleeding. Unfortunately, the cause of the condition is unknown, but it is thought that stress as well as hyperactivity could be responsible for dogs developing the condition and it is more commonly seen in small dog breeds.
Dogs with the condition often become dehydrated which as a result makes them extremely weak. Dehydration is dangerous because it impacts both liver and kidney function. As such it must be viewed as a very dangerous condition that if left untreated would end up being life-threatening to your dog.
Fortunately, diagnosing the condition is relatively easy with vets are able to establish whether a dog is suffering from HGE by carrying out simple blood tests and by analysing their stools. It has been suggested that a bacteria known as Clostridium may be responsible, but this has yet to be proved. However, it is thought the bacteria may be a contributing factor to dogs developing HGE.
Vets typically treat a dog with the condition by prescribing a course of antibiotics in order to treat the bacteria present in their digestive tracts. However, the vet would want to rule out internal parasites as a cause first because if there are any present, they too can cause blood to be in your pet's stools. The internal parasites responsible tend to be either hook worms and Giardiamay.
A dog would also need to be placed on intravenous fluids and given anti-nausea medication together with the course of antibiotics which means they would need to be hospitalised during the treatment. The good news is that the majority of dogs who develop HGE usually recover fully within a few days as long as a correct diagnosis has been made and the condition is treated sooner rather than later.
The bad new is that until vets know what actually causes the condition, they don't know which would be the best treatment to give a dog to reduce their recovery time. There is also a risk that when using antibiotics to treat the condition it could result in a resistance to the medication.
It cannot be stressed enough the importance of regularly worming a dog to prevent any infestation of internal parasites like hook worm or Giardiamay, both of which can be responsible for blood in your pet's faeces. Regularly checking a dog's stools is also important so you can pick up a problem sooner rather than later. If you do notice there is blood present, you should make an appointment with the vet who may ask you to collect some of their faeces in order for them to be analysed.
It is also a good idea to routinely take your dog for a check up at the vets and this is especially true as they get older. However, younger dogs too need to go along for their boosters which is the ideal time for a vet to give them the once over and a clean bill of health.
Like all medical conditions, the earlier a correct diagnosis can be made followed by the right kind of treatment, the better the prognosis tends to be. If your dog is passing blood in their faeces, you need to get them checked out by a qualified vet as soon as you can so that blood tests can be carried out. Should the cause be intestinal worms, the vet would recommend the right course of treatment to give your pet. If, however, the tests come back showing your dog has developed HGE, they may need to hospitalise your pet for a few days in order to treat them correctly. The good news is that most dogs recover from the condition and are back to their old selves within a few days.
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