What people most often do not realize is that eventhough dogs do not seem like picky eaters, their stomachs sure are. If we are not careful with what we feed and expose our dogs to, we may be facing one or more stomach illnesses in the near future. Colitis in Labrador dogs is just one of these inflammatory diseases localized in the colon of the dog. This disease can also affect other mammals, but is most commonly found in dogs, including your beloved Labradors. The colon is a part of the digestive system responsible for vitamin, water, and fat absorption of digested food. Once this is damaged or inflamed, as in the case in colitis, your dog’s ability to retain water is reduced and could lead to dehydration and irregular bowel movement among others.
Colitis in Labrador Dogs and its types
There are different types of colitis. Each has been categorized depending on which cell types in the intestinal lining are mostly affected. The first two types which are histiocytic and plasmacytic-lymphocytic colitis can be caused by heredity or an abnormal immune system. There have been no clear causes that pinpoint the occurrence the other two types namely, eosinophilic and granulomatous.
Moreover, colitis can also be categorized depending on the duration and occurrence of the disease. There is the chronic colitis which means that your dog will be suffering from the disease throughout its entire life. Some could just be an acute episode which means that the disease will flare up fast, but goes away after medication and some time. However, most often dogs experience chronic episodes of colitis. It’s common that this disease will recur more times throughout the dog’s life. The duration or the number of occurrences is contingent upon the extent of inflammation of the colon and the length of time before the dog has been given medication.
How does your Labrador get his colon inflamed?
While there are no specific causes, there are a lot of triggering factors that increases the risk of getting colitis. One of them is infection – bacterial, fungal, or parasitic – all of these can damage the colon if not treated. Secondly, there is food allergies or other types of intolerance. Dogs have a lot of dietary restrictions that owners should be aware of, some of them may be specific to a breed. Thirdly, colitis may just be a symptom of a bigger illness which is colon cancer. Fourthly, trauma or injury could potentially damage the colon which you may not be very noticeable. Antibiotics and other medications could also lead to tearing up the colon, so be careful with your medical subscriptions.
What to watch out for
Be on the lookout for these symptoms, a combination of these occurring together could mean that your Labrador has colitis and it’s time to seek a veterinarian immediately. The first red flag is diarrhea, particularly when the stool is watery, soft, and has blood and mucus in it. This is the clearest sign of inflammation and your dog should be taken to the vet immediately. Another symptom is loss of appetite which is followed by weight loss. This happens because your dog is most likely experiencing pain in the stomach that can be worsened when eating. Your dog shows painful expression, especially when the lower half of the body is disturbed or when excreting feces. The dog may squat or hunch when pooping, possibly looking unusually constipated.
Diagnosis and treatment of Colitis in Labrador Dogs
The manifestation of these symptoms could occur in many type of digestive problems and ultimately, it is the veterinarian’s call to declare that your dog is suffering from colitis. He or she confirms this by conducting several diagnostic examinations including, fecal examination, blood counts, x-rays, ultrasound, and a possible colonoscopy. Generally, the first problem that the vet will address will be the dehydration; your dog will be given fluids high in electrolytes. Also, a dietary change is required where your dog may be placed on a fast and a high-fiber diet. Fiber helps the digestive process move along. For the colitis caused by infections, bacteria, and the immune system, antibiotics and other medications specific to the problem will be prescribed. Only in severe cases will you dog be placed under hospitalization or surgical procedures. Although this disease can be painful for your dog at first, the general prognosis is that it can be treated easily and your dog can go back to his normal activities immediately.
Of course, as owners we can’t let this thing happen over and over again. So it is best to take this precautionary measures to prevent permanently damaging your dog’s colon. First of all, regular deworming is highly recommended. As digestive problems in dogs are most often caused by parasitic and bacterial infections, so take this process seriously. A consultation with your veterinarian on the food or dietary restrictions for your dog is also necessary to avoid any food allergies. All of these with a high-fiber, well-balanced diet, a minimal stress life, and your dog is good to go!