What causes gastroenteritis in dogs?


A vast number of reasons can cause a problem, ranging from mild to severe gastroenteritis in dogs, and from acute to chronic.

Because of the large number of potential triggers, the root cause may not be identified before beginning a treatment plan for acute gastroenteritis. Because of their scavenging nature, a common cause of acute gastroenteritis in dogs is eating something that upsets their stomach. This could be because they have managed to find some unsuitable high-fat food, eaten something contaminated, or swallowed something that has lodged in the digestive tract as a foreign body such as a toy. An example would be a splinter of cooked bone following raiding the kitchen bin. Foreign objects are a serious danger, particularly if they are sharp like bone splinters, as they can cause serious damage to the dog’s stomach and intestines, and this is an emergency, please go see the vet. As certain bacteria and viruses affect the gastrointestinal tract, infection can be a cause. This makes some causes of gastroenteritis contagious in dogs.

Immune status is a possible factor, as canine parvovirus, a viral infection routinely vaccinated for, can cause an acute enteritis. Other causes of acute gastroenteritis may include ingesting toxins, parasitic infections in the gastrointestinal tract and allergic reactions to something consumed. A major stressful event, such as a house move or the introduction of a new pet, can prompt a bout of gastroenteritis. Allergic reactions are a potential cause, with the substance triggering the reaction potentially being eaten, drunk or inhaled. Switching too fast to a new food with different ingredients can cause a problem as the gastrointestinal tract may have a reaction to having to process very different food, this is why it is always a good idea to slowly transition to new foods.

How long does gastroenteritis last in dogs? While acute cases will generally be resolved within a few days of treatment, chronic gastroenteritis is a long-lasting condition, with repeated bouts of symptoms. Immune conditions can cause the body to mistakenly identify normal body cells as dangerous and cause the immune system to attack the dog’s own body. Past damage from parasitic or bacterial infections can make the gastrointestinal tract vulnerable to inflammation as can any kind of gastrointestinal injury. Chronic stress can cause digestive upsets throughout the dog. After suffering from acute gastroenteritis, some dogs can develop food intolerances, which may lead to chronic gastroenteritis.

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