Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE)….when your pets vomit and stools contain blood. – By: Dr. Marco Ruffato
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE)….when your pets vomit and stools contain blood. – By: Dr. Marco RuffatoDate: June 1, 2016
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (vomiting and bloody diarrhea) is often caused by an abrupt diet change or addition of an unfamiliar food, by scavenging off the ground or out of the garbage, or sometimes due to toxins or infectious diseases. It can become dangerous because it causes severe dehydration, which leads to “thickening” of the blood, making it harder for blood to flow through small vessels and compromising circulation.
What are the clinical signs?
- A sudden onset of profuse, bloody diarrhea with a foul odor
- Vomiting, sometimes containing blood.
- Loss of appetite
- Acute abdominal pain
During HGE, the mucosa of the intestine becomes inflamed and this allows proteins and electrolytes to leak out into the intestinal lumen. The red blood cells remain in the blood stream and therefore, the PCV (the percentage of red cell into the blood stream) increases while the plasma protein level decreases.
How is HGE diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will likely run some tests to try to rule out other causes of bloody diarrhea. The diagnosis of HGE is based on the dog’s clinical signs (especially sudden onset of bloody diarrhea) accompanied with an increased packed-cell volume (PCV) – usually greater than 60%.
How is HGE in dogs treated?
Your pet will most likely need to be hospitalized for IV fluid in order to correct the dehydration. Other IV medications, including antibiotics, anti-nausea and antacid medications are used to control the clinical signs of the GI upset.
What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for dogs with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is fairly good if the condition is treated appropriately and diagnosed earlier. Most pets will return home in 1 or 2 days and their stools will be normal 2-3 days after.