Colitis in Dogs / IBS in Dogs, you Have to Treat the Cause Not the Symptoms…
Recurring gastrointestinal upset is often a sign of IBS / colitis in dogs, the third most common reason for visiting a vet. After recurring skin issues, it is the main reason why people visit our site. The good news is, if you grab a cup of tea and digest the info in this article, his problems are near an end.
Many of the following points likely describe your dog:
- Dry Fed: When your dog’s problems began he was eating a wheat based dry food. He’s either still eating it or now eating a grossly over-priced bag of “prescription” dry food.
- Soft Stool: Your dog’s system is not tolerating whatever is being fed and is getting rid of it as quick as possible resulting in soft poos / diarrhoea which stink badly
- Mucousy Stools: This is the inner lining of his intestines coming out on the poo. It’s defeinitely not ideal but don’t panic.
- Blood in the Stool: Should the problem be going on for a while, it’s likely his guts are taking a bit of a battering. As the protective mucosal layer depletes with constant soft poos the capillaries are exposed and rupture.
- Poor Body Condition: Your dog is in poor condition. A result of all the digestive upset is that none of the good stuff gets in. He is under weight, with a poor coat, permanently hungry and depressed.
- Anal gland issues: If you see a dog bottom-scooting / dragging their bum he might have impacted anal glands.
- You likely have a white or light coated dog such as Westie or Bijon, though all dogs are affected.
- You have been to the vet multiple times and have received repeat presrcitoin steroids, antibiotics, anti-spasming drugs, to name but a few. But it doesn’t cure the problem so you keep going back.
You Need to Treat the Cause of Colitis in Dogs, Not the Symptoms
First off, the occasional bit of diarrhoea in dogs is easily treated with some minor considerations. This is not occasional though. A dog with IBS / colitis will be suffering recurring and severe bouts of diarrhoea and is likely losing considerable condition as a result.
While IBS and colitis in dogs are two separate diseases we are going to treat them as the same thing, largely as we strongly suspect that what the vets are seeing is the same thing. Certainly the symptoms coming into us are identical, as is the cure.
If a dog has a recurring gut issue then it suggests that something is constantly going in to the dog that is causing the gut to complain. If the culprit is not found and then removed from the dog’s life they will always have the symptoms that are seen on the surface. If the cause of these symptoms is not treated then visits to the vet for drugs (the powerful synthetic drugs that tell the immune system to quit complaining but don’t actually cure the disease) will be frequent. Like a plaster on gangrene, this is not the route to good health but the route to steadily poorer health.
The vast majority of dogs reporting to us with a recurring gut issue are dry fed and with the majority of these dry fed dogs it is the result of eating wheat. Simply cutting this one ingredient out completely sorts out a large amount of these poor troubled dogs. However, though, there are other causes too, including cooked chicken, beef and too many unnecessary chemicals. Drop all the products, all the pet store treats, anything with a picture of a dog on it to be honest. Move him to a plain, fresh diet and watch his issues evaporate.
For more information please read our articles on the most common causes of diarrhoea in dogs followed by some suitable hypoallergenic dog food ideas. To this I would most definitely add colostrum which studies show greatly alleviate leaky gut issues. Once he’s on the mend you will need to conduct an exclusion diet to find out what was the cause of these gut troubles in the first place so you can avoid them in the future.
If you’re stuck on anything please get in touch with Dr. Conor Brady, we’d be glad to help with any of your questions.