Canine Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

by Dee
(Miami, FL)

Reader QuestionI have a Rat Terrier who at 4 years of age got her first bout of Canine Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (CHG). We took her to the emergency room and they treated her with IV's, Antibiotics, Barium and Sulfazalazine. She recovered well.

It has been a year and last week she had another bout of HG. Took her to the emergency room again and received basically the same treatment. She took the Sulfazalazine for 1 week. 2 days after she stopped taking the Sulfazalazine the bloody stool returned.

I spoke to the Vet and he told me to keep her on the Sulfazalazine indefinitely.

Is this the correct treatment?


Answer from Dog Health Guide Editor

Canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is more common in dogs between 2 – 4 years of age. Unfortunately, the definite cause of this condition is uncertain, but two main factors such as bacteria (including bacterial toxins) and hypersensitivity to food are usually correlated with HG.

Moreover, some breeds, including terriers are predisposed to it when they show behaviors such as hyper activity and stress. Both of these are considered to be contributing factors.

The treatment you mentioned is effective for controlling CHG, but the most appropriate and approved treatment includes;

1. Fluid therapy with Ringer’s Lactate via an intravenous (IV) route to reduce the chance of hypo-volemic shock. Potassium chloride should be combined with administered fluids.

2. Most dogs respond well to Ampicillin and/or Gentamicin if administered via IV and/or SC (subcutaneously or
under the skin) respectively. Both of these are approved antibiotics for HG, which can control both the Clostridium and Escheria species of bacteria, which are considered to be responsible for this condition.

3. Other causative factors of HG is hypersensitivity to food. Usually food is initially withheld for 2 – 3 days. Thereafter,a dog is given food containing proteins it hasn’t been utilizing in its regular food. This diet is fed for 1 – 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks, regular food can be restored.

HG does reappear in some dogs after treatment, as in this case. This is usually related to contributing factors i.e. breed, stress and hyper activity. If your dog has some sort of stress or becomes hyper active while running, playing or responding, you should be careful to try and avoid situations that bring out these behaviors.

Maintain good hygiene and keep her busy to distract from stressful situations. You can also try and use natural remedies such as DetoxPlus to eliminate toxins, maintain energy, boost immune levels and to help with stress. You can also use a natural remedy to help maintain the health of the digestive tract such as Digestive Support.

Discuss the above mentioned treatment with your veterinarian and apply all modes of treatment; fluid therapy, antibiotics, food correction and control stress vigorously. Only administer antibiotics and fluids according to your veterinarian's directions, since these may cause severe complications if not administered properly or according to the recommended dose for your dog.

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