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Colitis in Dogs

Unlike pancreatitis in dogs, colitis is an inflammation of the colon rather than the pancreas organ. The pancreas is an important organ used to metabolize blood sugar and helps with digestion.  ‘Colitis’ simply means an inflammation of the large intestines. It is known that colitis causes about 50% of chronic diarrhea in dogs. Colitis is known to be quite painful for dogs to endure, so it is important to recognize symptoms of colitis in dogs and seek treatment as soon as possible.

Causes of Colitis in Dogs

Colitis can be caused by a few different things. Some are much more serious than others, and some require lifelong medication in order to prevent recurring colitis.

  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infections, such as salmonella
  • Whipworms
  • Food allergy or intolerance
  • Consuming garbage or another foreign substance
  • Eating too much grass
  • Severe anxiety
  • Fungal infections

Acute colitis – Acute colitis in dogs is usually caused by a foreign substance that has been consumed. Most dogs in a point in their life will go through a mild case of acute colitis, which is usually easily treated with mild antibiotics, or sometimes clears on its own. Acute colitis in dogs may be treated by a change of diet or stress training as well. Older dogs are more prone to acute colitis than younger dogs.

Chronic colitis – Chronic colitis in dogs is much more serious than acute colitis and can sometimes be very difficult to treat. Chronic colitis will not treat itself. If your dog’s diarrhea lasts more than 48 hours, it is important to take him to the veterinarian to seek medical treatment right away.

Symptoms of Colitis in Dogs

Colitis is not uncommon, and can usually be treated fairly easily if symptoms are recognized and treatment is administered as soon as possible. Symptoms of colitis in dogs range depending on the severity of the infection. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of dog colitis:

  • Diarrhea, sometimes with mucous or blood
  • Signs of pain or struggle during defecation.
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss, usually seen in chronic colitis
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive gas

Always seek immediate treatment for colitis if diarrhea lasts more than two days. Your vet will be able to diagnose colitis with simple testing and feces examinations. Often times, colitis is mistaken for pancreatitis in dogs, and your vet can easily rule out pancreatitis by examining the symptoms displayed.

For more information about colitis in dogs, pancreatitis in dogs, symptoms, treatment options and more, visit

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