Diseases and hernias in dogs

Diseases of the Intestines

Intestinal disorders are dominated by enteritis. Enteritis is a rather severe inflammation of the intestinal lining that has various origins: infectious agents, unsuitable food, parasites, foreign objects, etc. Depending on the length of evolution, it can either be chronic or acute. The symptoms are extremely variable, ranging from constipation to diarrhea, hyperthermia and exhaustion. Sometimes it is associated with a gastric disorder and is then referred to as gastroenteritis. Because of the metabolic disorder it entails, it can lead to severe dehydration, which is sometimes lethal for weaker animals.

Intestinal occlusions or obstructions are among the cases that require surgery the most. They are generally caused by ingesting foreign objects such as pieces of string or plastic toys.

Special attention must be paid to intestinal parasites. Dogs may be infested by round worms (Ascaris, Trichuris, Ankylostoma) and/or flat worms (Taenia, Dipylidium, Echinococcus). They ingest worms either as they are digging up ground or through the intermediary of carrier insects such as fleas. These parasites cause weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea. The dog shows his pain by dragging his hindquarters on the ground in what is called "the dragnet sign". Animals of all ages can be infected but puppies seem to have the highest risk. The infection can also be transmitted from dogs to humans. A de-worming regime needs to be established each year with the veterinarian.

Chronic colonitis is a chronic inflammation that occurs in the large intestine or the colon. Again, the origins are diverse: food or allergy-related, parasitic or metabolic, inflammatory or simply unknown. It is characterized by mucous-like feces, pain during defecation and rather severe episodes of diarrhea.

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Diseases of the Pancreas

In addition to being affected by inflammation and tumors, the pancreas can also malfunction, resulting in a pancreatic insufficiency. This is observed in young animals in the form of excessive weight loss accompanied by polyphagia. Periods of diarrhea alternate with periods of constipation. In fact, the pancreas is incapable of secreting the enzymes needed for digestion. Therefore, the dog does not properly digest the food he ingests. Enzyme supplements and an adapted diet of highly digestible food help treat this disorder.

The pancreas is also where insulin is produced and just as in humans, inadequate production can lead to diabetes. Diabetes is treated with daily insulin shots at fixed times.

Diseases of the Liver

In puppies, hepatitis is brought on by poisoning or infectious diseases such as infectious canine hepatitis. The liver becomes congested and it increases in size. Hepatitis can induce irreversible and lethal cirrhotic states. Symptoms include episodes of diarrhea with loose stools, followed by constipation. The abdomen is painful and the dog is exhausted.

Acute hepatic insufficiency is characterized by disorders of the digestive and nervous systems. Its etiology is varied: infections, toxins, medicines, metabolism and trauma. Urgent treatment is required given the sometimes lethal repercussions on the body.

Chronic hepatic insufficiency evolves more slowly, but in a manner that is just as dangerous. It causes weight loss, decline in overall health and digestive disorders. A veterinarian must run complementary tests in order to determine the cause.


Congenital umbilical hernias occur frequently in puppies and are caused when the small opening of the umbilicus does not close at birth. A small protrusion is observed, which is resorbed when pressure is placed on it. Although they pose no real danger to the animal, they can generally be corrected by surgery. Diaphragmatic hernias occur as a result of a diaphragmatic trauma that allows part of the abdominal viscera to pass into the thoracic cavity. These hernias cause respiratory and digestive problems that require surgery.

Perineal hernias

Perineal hernias are found in certain breeds such as the German Shepherd. They are characterized by the formation of multiple fistulas around the anus, which converge into a circular mass that may or may not be ulcerated. A malodorous pus oozes from this mass, which leads to constant licking and difficulty defecating. These lesions are never resorbed and require surgical treatment.

In addition to all these disorders, benign or malignant tumors can develop in the digestive tract. As the dog ages, close attention must be paid to the slightest sign of a digestive disorder.

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Posted in Other Home Post Date 03/09/2016






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