HEMORRHAGIC GASTROENTERITIS IN DOGS
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a digestive system problem characterized by vomiting and/or diarrhea with blood. These signs usually appear suddenly. Most patients stop eating and become lethargic. If we see the pet soon after the problem appears then it is usually treatable, but a small percentage of pets with HGE develop very severe complications, and in a small number of these pets HGE is fatal.
The cause of HGE is unknown.
Even though a particular cause can usually not be identified, diagnostic testing is helpful. Tests allow us to rule out other problems that can cause the same signs, and to identify specific treatable complications of HGE. We typically start with a blood profile, x-rays, and an ultrasound exam of the abdomen.
Treatment includes injectable fluid therapy, medicine for control of nausea, vomiting, and stomach ulcers, dietary management and antibiotics. The intensity with which these treatments are administered varies from patient to patient; we can treat most HGE patients as outpatients, but more seriously affected pets have to be hospitalized.
PROGNOSIS / EXPECTATIONS FOR RECOVERY
In our experience the vast majority of HGE patients make a successful recovery, but there is considerable variation in how long this takes. Some dogs are significantly improved in just a few days, others require two to four weeks, and some have less severe but persistent long-term bowel problems.
Yarmouth Veterinary Center