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Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs is a sudden-onset of diarrhoea, often very bloody in nature. Some dogs may also vomit.

The disease may affect any breed, gender, and age.

This disease is not contagious.

Left untreated, this can be a deadly disease. However, with prompt veterinary care, most dogs respond to treatment and recover.

Symptoms and Signs:

The most noteable sign seen with HGE is a very sudden onset of bloody diarrhoea in a previously healthy dog. Vomiting, not eating (anorexia), and listlessness are also seen. Dehydration is not usually seen on initial presentation, but shock can quickly develop without treatment.

What Causes HGE?

The exact cause of this disease is unknown. There are many theories - diet, a bacterial infection or bacterial toxin, virus, reaction to an intestinal parasite, but nothing has been proven. Stress may play a role in the development of HGE.  Dogs that have an episode of HGE may be prone to another occurence. Many dogs never experience HGE.

Diagnoses:

HGE is diagnosed primarily by ruling out other causes of bloody diarrhoea. The sudden appearance of bloody diarrhoea and high packed cell volume (PCV) in a healthy dog rule in favour of the HGE diagnosis. Other causes of gastrointestinal bleeding that must be considered as possibilities and subsequently ruled out include:

  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Colitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Gastrointestinal worms
  • Ratsak poisoning
  • Gastrointestinal cancer

Treatment:

The mainstay of treatment is aggressive supportive care - no food or water by mouth while on IV fluid therapy. Antibiotics are also given. Food is reintroduced slowly, starting with a bland diet of chicken.

With aggressive supportive care, most dogs recover within a few days.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic endocrine disorder that occurs in dogs and cats. It is characterised by high blood sugar (Hyperglycemia) and results when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the animal's requirements.

Insulin is a hormone which is needed to transport glucose (blood sugar) as well as certain amino acids and minerals through the blood to energy producing cells. When a lack of insulin occurs, glucose cannot move into the cells and the glucose level in the blood rises to abnormally high levels.

Signs of Diabetes:

An animal with diabetes mellitus will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms.

  • Weakness
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Depression
  • Abdominal Pain

An animal may also show signs of either increased hunger or lack of appetite. In some animals, the sudden development of blindness due to cataract formation may indicate diabetes.

Causes:

Diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats is caused by damage to the pancreas. Predisposing factors are: obesity, genetic predisposition, poor diet, hormonal abnormalities, stress and drugs. The sex of an animal can also be a predisposing factor. In dogs, females are affected twice as often as males and in cats, diabetes is more prevelant in males.

Diagnoses:

Our vets will perform a thorough physical examination and ask you questions about your pet's health history. They will test your pets blood sugar levels with a glucometer. They will also do a urine check.

Diabetes is often complicated by urinary tract infections, other hormone disorders, infections, or a build up of chemical compounds called ketones in the body. Provided these or no other complications are present, the blood sugar and urinalysis tests will help determine whether or not your pet is diabetic.

Treatment:

Treatment requires a commitment of time and management from you, the owner. There is no cure for diabetes mellitus, but as with humans, it can be controlled with insulin injections, diet, and exercise management.

With such therapy, your pet can lead a happy, comfortable life.

Once your pet has been diagnosed, its specific insulin requirements need to be determined. Our vets will hospitalise your pet to determine its specific needs.

This is accomplished by giving the patient an insulin injection and testing the blood sugar levels at regular intervals throughout the day.This test is known as a blood glucose curve These results are used to determine your pet's initial insulin requirements.

Because your pet's insulin needs may change once it returns home, due to changes in diet, exercise and environment, periodic re-evaluation over the next two weeks is recommended until satisfactory control is achieved.

You must provide your pet daily injections of insulin for the rest of its life. It is also important the injections are given at the same time each day, usually at 12hour intervals.

The injection is given just under the skin and is not painful to your pet. Our veterinarians will show you how to administer the injection.

 

Glucometer used to perform a blood glucose test.

Clinstix used for urinalysis.