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Stomach Flu with Bloody Diarrhea in Dogs

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) in Dogs

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is identified by blood in the vomit and/or stool, often due to a food borne illness. Because it is a serious disorder than can be potentially fatal, immediate veterinary care is required.

Symptoms

Continuous vomiting and/or diarrhea are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms include:

Causes

Infectious gastroenteritis is caused by pathogens (infectious agents). Some of the pathogens most commonly associated with infectious gastroenteritis include:

E. coli, Salmonella and Corynebacterium are the most significant intestinal pathogens because they can be passed from animal to human or vice versa. Salmonella infections are also important due to association with reproductive disorders.

Sudden dietary changes and/or dietary toxins may cause irritation and/or affect the immune system. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a chronic form of the illness, has been associated with allergens in dog foods. Gastroenteritis may be also observed due to irritation caused by stress, toxins, physical obstruction, ulcers, and abdominal disorders.

Gastroenteritis is not specific to any breed or gender, however, small breed dogs are more prone to infectious gastroenteritis.

Diagnosis

It may be difficult to identify the cause of gastroenteritis. Therefore, invasive diagnostic procedures may be required if routine diagnostic procedures are not successful.

A brief outline of diagnostic procedures:

Medical history:

  • Physical obstruction, tumors, ulcers, intestinal blockage, etc.
  • Information about the severity, progression and magnitude of the vomiting and diarrhea
  • The vaccination record may help in ruling out a parvoviral infection

Physical observations:

  • A skin test to determine the presence and extent of dehydration
  • An abdominal palpation to check abdominal pain and/or abdominal obstruction
  • An examination of mucus membranes to determine hemorrhagic losses
  • Cardiovascular function provides information on dehydration and/or blood loss
  • Visual observation of the vomit and/or stool to determine if there is blood present

Routine blood/biochemical tests:

  • Packed cell volume (hematocrit) data to confirm hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Biochemical tests (i.e., liver, kidney, blood protein, and blood sugar)

Fecal study:

  • Cultural assays to identify any potential microbiological or parasitic organisms

Radiographs/endoscopy:

  • To locate any potentinal physical obstruction, tumor, ulcer, intestinal blockage, etc.

palpation

Examination through feeling

systemic

Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ

mucus

A type of slime that is made up of certain salts, cells, or leukocytes

gastroenteritis

A medical condition in which the small intestine and stomach become inflamed

density

a) Mass per volume b) The number of animals in a given area

dehydration

A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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Yellow Skin (Jaundice) in Dogs

Icterus in Dogs

The term icterus (or jaundice) denotes a yellow discoloration of mucous membranes of the gums, nostrils, genitals, and other areas due to a high concentration of bilirubin, a normal bile pigment formed as a result of a breakdown of hemoglobin present in red blood cells (RBCs).

If there is an increased rate of RBC breakdown, as occurs in some diseases, abnormally high levels of bilirubin will form. These high levels of bilirubin cannot be excreted at a normal rate, and thus, accumulates in tissues. Bilirubin levels may also increase in conditions where normal excretion of bilirubin is hampered due to some disease (e.g., cholestasis), in which bile cannot flow from the liver to the duodenum (first section of intestine) due to some mechanical obstruction or neoplasia.

Higher concentrations of bilirubin are toxic and may cause discoloration of the skin (i.e., jaundice), liver and kidney injury, and may also affect brain tissue. All breeds of dogs can be affected.

Symptoms and Types

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Paleness
  • Yellowish discoloration of the skin
  • Change in color of urine and feces (orange colored)
  • Increased frequency (polyuria) and volume of urine
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
  • Mental confusion in advanced cases
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding (especially in dogs with advanced liver disease)

Causes

  • Diseases, toxins, drugs leading to increased destruction of RBCs
  • Incompatible blood transfusion
  • Systemic infections impairing processing of bilirubin in liver
  • Collection of large volume of blood inside body cavity
  • Inflammation of liver (hepatitis)
  • Tumors
  • Cirrhosis
  • Massive damage to liver tissue (e.g., due to toxins)
  • Obstruction in secretion of bilirubin due inflammation of pancreas, presence of tumor, stones, or parasites.

Diagnosis

Your dog’s veterinarian will take a detailed history from you and perform a complete physical examination on your dog. Routine laboratory tests including: complete blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis will be conducted. These tests will reveal very valuable information for the initial diagnosis. Complete blood count tests may reveal changes in RBC structures, changes pertaining to underlying infections like severe anemia, blood parasites, and abnormally low levels of platelets (cells responsible for blood clotting). The biochemistry profile, meanwhile, may reveal abnormally high levels of liver enzymes pertaining to liver injury. And urinalysis will show abnormally high levels of bilirubin in urine.

There are more specific tests available for further diagnosis, including underlying causes. Radiographic studies will help in the determination of structure and size of the liver, which is the central organ of importance in this disease. These X-rays often find the liver enlarged, reveal the presence of a mass or tumor, the enlargement of the spleen in some cases, and foreign bodies. Thoracic X-rays may reveal metastasis if a tumor is the cause. Ultrasound will also be performed, enabling your veterinarian to evaluate the liver structure in detail, helping to distinguish liver disease from an obstruction of biliary tract, as well as differentiating a tumor from a mechanical obstruction.

Additionally, the veterinarian may decide to take a sample of liver tissue with the aid of ultrasound for a more detailed evaluation. Liver tissue samples may be taken through a needle or during surgery, which may be performed for confirmatory diagnosis and treatment.

pancreas

A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions

polyuria

Excessive urination

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

jaundice

A condition in which the skin becomes yellow in color as do the mucous membranes; this is due to excess amounts of bilirubin.

polydipsia

A medical condition involving excessive thirst

hepatitis

A condition in which the liver becomes inflamed

bilirubin

A certain pigment that is produced when hemoglobin is destroyed.

bile

The fluid created by the liver that helps food in the stomach to be digested.

duodenum

The first part of the small intestine; can be found between the pylorus and the jejunum

excretion

Eliminating or the material that has actually been eliminated

anemia

A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.

hemoglobin

The protein that moves oxygen in the blood

icterus

Another term for jaundice

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Weight Loss and Chronic Disease in Dogs

Cachexia in Dogs

When should your dog’s weight loss concern you? The standard is when the loss exceeds ten percent of normal body weight (and when it is not due to fluid loss). There are many things that can cause weight loss, including chronic disease. It is important to understand this because the dog’s entire body will probably be affected by the weight loss, and it ultimately depends on the cause and severity of the underlying medical condition.

Causes 

  • Insufficient calorie intake
  • Poor quality of food
  • Taste (palatability) of food
  • Spoiled food/deterioration from prolonged storage
  • Reduced appetite (anorexia)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic protein-losing intestinal disorder
  • Intestinal worms (parasites)
  • Chronic infections of the bowel
  • Tumors of the intestine
  • Blockages in stomach/gut (gastrointestinal obstructions)
  • Surgical removal (resection) of segments of bowel
  • Disease of the pancreas
  • Liver or gall bladder disease
  • Organ failure (heart, liver, kidney)
  • Addison’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic blood loss (hemorrhaging)
  • Skin lesions that ooze and cause loss of protein
  • Disorders of the central nervous system that interfere with eating or appetite
  • Paralysis of the esophagus
  • Neurologic disorders that make it difficult to pick up or swallow food
  • Increased physical activity
  • Prolonged exposure to cold
  • Pregnancy or nursing
  • Fever or inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Fungal infections

Diagnosis 

Your veterinarian will begin with a variety of diagnostic tests to find the underlying cause for the weight loss. After an initial health assessment, the following are some tests that might be recommended for your pet:

  • Fecal studies to look for chronic intestinal parasites
  • Complete blood count (CBC) to look for infection, inflammation, leukemia, anemia, and other blood disorders
  • A biochemical profile that will evaluate kidney, liver, and pancreas function, and the status of blood proteins, blood sugar, and electrolytes
  • Urinalysis to determine kidney function, to look for infections/protein loss from the kidneys, and to determine hydration status
  • Chest and abdominal x-rays to observe heart, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Tests to evaluate the condition of the pancreas
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • Bile acids test to evaluate liver function
  • Hormone assays to look for endocrine disorders
  • Using a scope to view the intestines (endoscopy) and biopsy
  • Exploratory surgery (laparotomy)

palatability

The term used to describe how much an animal will like a specific taste or food

pancreas

A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions

leukemia

An increase in the number of bad white blood cells

esophagus

The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

anemia

A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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Tylenol (Acetaminophen) Poisoning in Dogs

Acetaminophen Toxicity in Dogs

Acetaminophen is one of the most commonly used pain relievers, and it can be found in a variety of over-the-counter medications. Toxic levels can be reached when a pet is unintentionally over medicated with acetaminophen, or when a pet has gotten hold of medication and ingested it. Pet owners often do not realize their animals may break into medicine cabinets or chew through medicine bottles. It is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of toxicity, so that you can properly treat your pet if is has accidentally ingested medication.

Symptoms and Types

The effects of acetaminophen poisoning are quite serious, often causing non-repairable liver damage. Dogs will typically experience acetaminophen toxicity at over 75 mg per kg body weight. The most common symptoms that you may notice in pets suffering from acetaminophen toxicity include:

  • Brownish-gray colored gums
  • Labored breathing
  • Swollen face, neck or limbs
  • Hypothermia (reduced body temperature)
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowish color to skin, whites of eyes), due to liver damage
  • Coma

Diagnosis

If you believe that your pet has ingested acetaminophen, it will typically be treated as an emergency situation. Seek the advice of a medical professional immediately, as treatment may be necessary. Your veterinarian will perform a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis to determine the level of toxicity, so that a potential treatment can be prescribed.

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

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Stomach Infection with Helicobacter in Dogs

Helicobacter Infection in Dogs

Under normal conditions, the Helicobacter bacteria are benign inhabitants of the intestinal tract, being found in several species, including domestic animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets and pigs, in wild animals such as cheetah’s and monkeys, and in humans. While gastric infection due to Helicobacter pylori is a major health problem in humans – it has been associated with gastritis, gastric tumor, and peptic ulcer in affected people – the significance of the Helicobacter bacterium in dogs and any correlation to gastric dysfunctions is still largely unclear (H. pylori specifically is not found in dogs).

Various species of Helicobacter organism have been isolated from the stomachs of cats and mixed infections can present, which sometimes complicates the diagnosis. The most common forms of Helicobacter found in dogs are Helicobacter felis and Helicobacter heilmannii. Other species of Helicobacter found in dogs are Helicobacter rappini, and Helicobater salomonis. The bacteria inhabit the mucosal lining of the stomach, and the glandular cavities.

There are some reports of isolation of Helicobacter from the livers of dogs with hepatitis but this remains anecdotal. Infection from this bacteria is difficult to eradicate entirely and may last from months to years – even for a lifetime, in some dogs.

Symptoms and Types

Most cases remain without any symptoms at all. In others the following symptoms may be seen:

  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Poor appetite
  • Bowel sounds
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Sudden death

Causes

Gastric Helicobacter felis, Helicobacter heilmannii, Helicobacter rappini, and Helicobater salomonis infection. The method by which this infection is transmitted remains unknown, but because of its higher prevalence in shelter dogs, oral and/or fecal transmission is considered a possibility. This assumption is supported by the presence of Helicobacter-like organisms, called GHLOs, in the vomit, feces and saliva of animals that have been infected. There is also some suspicion that the bacteria may be transmitted by water, as GHLOs have been found in some surface waters.

Poor sanitary conditions and overcrowding appear to facilitate the spread of infection.

Diagnosis

Establishing a definitive diagnosis of Helicobacter infection is difficult in most instances. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination with routine laboratory tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Your veterinarian may also take a sample from stomach wall and stain it with May-Grünwald-Giemsa, Gram, or Diff-Quik stains, which can easily demonstrate the presence of this organism by making it visible under microscope.

An endoscopic examination is of great help for direct observation of the stomach walls as well as for taking tissue samples for further processing. This procedure uses a device called an endoscope, a camera situated at the end of a flexible tube, which is threaded into the stomach through the esophagus. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is often used both to confirm the presence of Helicobacter in a given sample and to differentiate between the species of Helicobacters. However, confirmation can also be made by taking a tissue sample using the endoscope and observing the sample through microscope.

Note that the presence of gastric Helicobacters in the body do not necessarily indicate an infection that needs to be treated.

gastritis

A medical condition in which the stomach becomes inflamed

hepatitis

A condition in which the liver becomes inflamed

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

gastric

Anything having to do with the stomach

endoscope

A type of instrument that is used to look inside the body

benign

Not being able to cause harm; the opposite of malignant.

digestive tract

The whole system involved in digestion from mouth to anus

bacterium

The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.

esophagus

The tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach

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Stomach Disorder (Loss of Motility) in Dogs

Gastric Motility Disorders in Dogs

The spontaneous peristaltic (involuntary, wavelike) movements of the stomach muscles are essential for proper digestion, moving food through the stomach and out into the duodenum — the first portion of the small intestine.

Excessive gastric motility, with muscular contractions occurring too frequently, causes pain, whereas below normal motility causes delayed gastric emptying, abnormal gastric retention, gastric distention/bloating, and other related signs. Symptoms may occur at any age but it is less common in young dogs than in aging dogs.

Symptoms and Types

Clinical symptoms vary depending on the primary cause responsible for the gastric motility disorder. The following symptoms are commonly seen in affected dogs:

  • Chronic vomiting of food, especially soon after taking meal
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • Belching
  • Compulsive eating of non-food substances (pica)
  • Weight loss

Causes

  • Idiopathic (cause unknown)
  • Secondary to other metabolic disorders, such as:
  • Secondary to primary gastric disease, such as:
    • Gastritis
    • Gastric ulcers
  • After gastric surgery
  • After use of certain drugs
  • In case of excessive pain, fear, or trauma

Diagnosis

A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis to look for the potential cause of the decreased or increased gastric motility. Dehydration, acid-base imbalances, and electrolyte imbalances are common in cases with chronic vomiting. An electrolyte profile will help in determining the extent of dehydration and other related abnormalities.

Abdominal X-rays will help in locating excess gas, fluid or food in the distended stomach. To improve visibility on X-ray and examine the movement of the stomach, barium sulfate can be used for contrast abdominal radiography. This method uses a medium, in this case barium sulfate, to bring the interior of the body into sharper focus by adding a substance to the organ or vessel that will be visible on X-ray imaging. The barium is mixed with meal and fed to the dog, and serial radiographs are then taken to determine the length of time it takes for gastric emptying.

Ultrasound is also a valuable diagnostic tool for stomach motility evaluation, and endoscopy is commonly employed for real time evaluation of the various abdominal organs, including stomach. An endoscope is a tubular device that is outfitted with a lighted camera and gathering tool. It is inserted into the body, generally by mouth, and threaded into the organ that is to be examined (e.g., bladder, stomach, etc.) so that your veterinarian can better view the internal structure of the stomach organ, discovering masses, tumors, abnormal cells, blockages, etc. The endoscope can also be used to collect a tissue sample for biopsy.

gastric

Anything having to do with the stomach

pica

A type of ravenous appetite that causes animals to eat or lick at strange substances

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

endoscope

A type of instrument that is used to look inside the body

radiography

A procedure of imaging internal body structures by exposing film

duodenum

The first part of the small intestine; can be found between the pylorus and the jejunum

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

dehydration

A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts

distention

The process of making something larger by dilating or stretching it

barium sulfate

Commonly referred to simply as barium, may be used as a material for contrast injections.

encephalopathy

A disease of the brain of any type

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

Gastroduodenal Ulcer in Dogs

Gastroduodenal ulcer disease refers to ulcers found in the dog’s stomach and/or the first section of the small intestine, also known as the duodenum.

These uclers often develop because the mucosal lining of the stomach or intestinal lumen (which comes in direct contact with food and is responsible for nutrient absorption) is exposed. There are various factors that may alter these protective mechanisms.

Although the formation of these ulcers are less common in cats, they do occur. If you would like to learn more about how the disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

There are many symptoms that can develop as a result of gastroduodenal ulcers, of which some may remain undetected until the dog’s condition becomes severe. For instance, dogs are less likely to show clinical evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding.

The following are some of the more common symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting (most often seen)
  • Blood in vomiting (hematemesis)
  • Black tarry stool due to presence of digested blood (melena)
  • Abdominal pain (animal may stand in praying position)

Causes

Accidental poisoning is one of the leading causes of gastroduodenal ulcer disease. This can be in the form of plant intoxication (e.g., mushrooms, castor beans, sago palm), pesticide or rodenticide toxicity, chemical poisoning (e.g., ethylene glycol, phenol), or heavy metal poisoning (e.g., zinc, iron, arsenic).

Gastroduodenal ulcers are common in German Shepherds heavily medicated on ibuprofen. Rottweilers also have increased incidence of stomach perforation and ulcers.

Other common causes of gastroduodenal ulcer disease include:

  • Gastrointestinal obstructions (i.e., tumors)
  • Hyperacidity of the stomach
  • Severe trauma (e.g., shock, head injury, burns)
  • Gastrointestinal parasites
  • Infectious diseases (bacterial, fungal, viral)
  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Adverse drug reaction
  • Pythiosis (a condition cause by water mold)
  • Helicobacter infection
  • Sustained strenuous exercise

Diagnosis

Your dog’s veterinarian will take detailed history and after conducting the physical examination, routine laboratory testing will be carried out. Complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis can help in diagnosing this problem along with complications, if any.

Blood testing, for example, may reveal anemia in patients with bleeding, whereas in cases with chronic blood loss, iron deficiency anemia may be seen. In some dogs, decreased number of platelets (cells important for blood clotting) and white blood cells may be seen. Fecal material is also analyzed to see if blood is present in it or not, while abdominal X-rays and ultrasounds assist in diagnosing any foreign body, mass in the stomach or duodenum.

In case of tumor, thoracic X-ray may help in finding the metastasis of tumor to lungs. Endoscopy, a procedure in which a veterinarian will look directly into the stomach and duodenum using an endoscope, is the method of choice for definitive diagnosis. In addition, endoscopy allows the veterinarian to remove any foreign bodies and take a biopsy. A rigid or flexible tube will also be inserted in the stomach and duodenum in order to take photographs.

melena

The term for black feces that has blood in it

lumen

Any opening in an organ

thoracic

Pertaining to the chest

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

infuse

To put a liquid or medicine into something

hematemesis

The act of throwing up blood

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

duodenum

The first part of the small intestine; can be found between the pylorus and the jejunum

endoscope

A type of instrument that is used to look inside the body

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

anemia

A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.

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Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammatory condition of the stomach and intestines. The name of the disease is derived from the fact that lining of the stomach and intestines is infiltrated with a specific type of white blood cell known as an eosinophil.

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is most commonly seen in dogs less than 5 years of age, though it can affect dogs of any age. German Shepherds, Rottweilers, soft-coated Wheaten Terriers, and Shar Peis may be predisposed. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Causes

  • Parasites
  • Immune-mediated – may be associated with food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or with adverse drug reactions
  • Systemic mastocytosis (a disorder involving mast cell infiltration of body tissues)
  • Hypereosinophilic syndrome
  • Eosinophilic leukemia
  • Idiopathic eosinophilic gastroenteritis (cause unknown)

Diagnosis

In order to confirm the diagnosis a veterinarian will typically examine your dog’s feces for parasites. In many cases, deworming with a broad spectrum deworming product is used to help rule out parasites as well. Routine blood testing (including a complete blood cell count and blood chemistry profile) and urinalysis may also be performed to check for abnormalities in organ function and blood cells.

Imaging such as radiographs (X-rays) and abdominal ultrasonography may be used to examine the intestinal tract more thoroughly, while dietary trials may be performed to diagnose food allergies or hypersensitivities.

Definitive diagnosis is made by collecting samples of the stomach and intestines for biopsy via endoscopy or exploratory surgery. If your veterinarian suspects idiopathic eosinophilic gastroenteritis, diagnosis is attained by ruling out other causes.

urinalysis

An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness

leukemia

An increase in the number of bad white blood cells

gastroenteritis

A medical condition in which the small intestine and stomach become inflamed

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

idiopathic

Relating to a disease of unknown origin, which may or may not have arisen spontaneously

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Salmonella Infection in Dogs

Salmonellosis in Dogs

Salmonellosis is an infection found in dogs caused by the Salmonella bacterium. It often leads to disorders, including gastroenteritis, spontaneous abortions, and septicemia. This bacterial disease is also zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted to humans.

Salmonellosis affects both dogs cats. If you would like to learn how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

The severity of the disease will often determine the signs and symptoms that are overtly present in the dog. Symptoms commonly seen in dogs with salmonellosis include:

Chronic forms of salmonellosis may exhibit some of these same symptoms; however, they will be more severe. These include symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of blood
  • Non-intestinal infections
  • Diarrhea that comes and goes with no logical explanation, which may last up to three or four weeks, or longer

Causes

There are more than 2,000 different types of Salmonella, a Gram-negative enterobacteria. Typically, a host animal carrying the disease will have two or more different microorganisms or types of Salmonellae bacteria that cause this disease.

Risk factors include the dog’s age, with younger and older animals most at risk due to their underdeveloped and/or compromised immune systems. Similarly, dogs with weak immune systems or immature gastrointestinal tracts are at risk.

Dogs receiving antibiotic therapy are also at risk because the healthy bacteria that line the digestive tract (or florae), may become imbalanced, increasing the risk of salmonellosis.

Diagnosis

To confirm a diagnosis of salmonellosis, your veterinarian will examine your dog for different physical and pathological findings.

Unfortunately, a dog infected with the bacteria will typically not show any clinical symptoms. However, some dogs do have gastroenteritis, a disease affecting the gastrointestinal system that presents with an inability to eat, general poor health and fatigue, depression, and a chronic fever that may stay as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other diagnostic features include:

Your veterinarian may want to also rule out other conditions that can result in similar symptoms, including parasites, dietary-induced stress (including allergy or food intolerances), drug or toxin-induced stresses, and diseases like viral gastroenteritis or bacterial gastroenteritis caused by E. Coli or other common bacteria.

Diagnostic procedures typically involve collecting urine and fecal samples for laboratory analysis. Your veterinarian may also find it helpful to conduct blood cultures.

sepsis

A medical condition; the contamination of a living thing by a harmful type of bacteria

platelet

A cell that aids in clotting

septicemia

A condition of the blood in which micro-organisms or harmful toxins are present in the system

systemic

Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ

zoonosis

A type of disease that can be transferred between people and animals

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

steroid

The term for a type of medication that impacts immunity, metabolism, sexual characteristics, and other such elements of a living thing

gastroenteritis

A medical condition in which the small intestine and stomach become inflamed

anemia

A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.

albumin

A type of protein that can be dissolved in water; found in milk, egg white, certain muscle, blood, and some urine.

bacterium

The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.

dehydration

A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts

acute

Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.

digestive tract

The whole system involved in digestion from mouth to anus

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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Salmon Poisoning Disease in Dogs

Salmon poisoning disease (SPD) is an often fatal condition, occurring when a dog eats raw salmon that is infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite. This disease typically begins in the tissues of the small intestine, where it causes hemorrhaging. It gradually becomes systemic, invading the entire body.

Symptoms and Types

The signs and symptoms of SPD include the following:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes

Causes

Dogs contract the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite when they consume raw fish, including raw salmon, trout, and other fish that contain the N. helminthoeca organisms, like the trematode vector.

Diagnosis

To diagnose SPD, your veterinarian will need to rule out other conditions that are known to cause similar symptoms, including:

  • Poisoning from food products or toxins
  • Canine parvovirus type 2 (a contagious virus which is common in puppies)
  • Ehrlichiosis (sometimes known as canine typhus fever, or rickettsiosis)
  • Canine distemper (a virus known to cause stomach upset)

Once these alternate conditions have been ruled out, your doctor will collect fluid from a swollen lymph node to test for Rickettsial bodies. This can be done using the Giemsa stain technique, which stains the DNA of parasites, making them visible under microscope.

Your doctor will also perform an examination of the feces to discover whether the organism Nanophyetus salmincola has laid eggs in the feces, which will also confirm a diagnosis of SPD. Other findings may include changes in the lymph tissue, which may show yellowish tissue in the lymph node, and blood within the intestinal contents.

vector

A carrier of a disease; helps to move a disease from one animal to the next.

trematode

A type of parasitic flatworm, like the liver fluke found in sheep

lymphadenopathy

Any disease of the lymph nodes

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

systemic

Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ