Does Your Boston Terrier Have Colitis?

 An inflammation of the colon, Colitis is the culprit for around 50 percent of dogs that suffer from chronic diarrhea. Based on the predominant cell types present in the intestinal lining, Colitis can be classified as eosinophilic, histiocytic, plasmacytic-lymphocytic, and granulomatous. The painful condition is considered by many as to be a genetic defect, especially when it comes to the plasmacytic-lymphocytic and histiocytic forms of the condition. In other cases, the cause of Colitis can’t be pinpointed or explained. If your dog has colitis, it may be because of the following factors:

  • Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites (particularly whipworms)
  • Colon cancer
  • Dietary intolerance
  • Medications (including antibiotics)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Dietary indiscretion

The most common symptom of Colitis is diarrhea, which can be bloody or contain mucus. Other signs of Colitis include abdominal pain, gas, painful defecation, straining and prolonged squatting. Because of diarrhea, the dog may become dehydrated. As well, a dog with colitis is often lethargic and passes small stools. You many mistake this condition as constipation, due to straining and prolonged squatting.

Colitis can be chronic, acute or chronically episodic, depending on the duration of an episode. Chronic Colitis is constant while acute conditions come on suddenly. Chronically episodic means Colitis will come and go often.

Because there are different types of Colitis, it can be easily confused with other conditions of the digestive tract. Your vet will be in a better position to distinguish it from other diseases that share the same symptoms and determine the ultimate cause of the problem after running the proper tests.

If your dog is suffering from severe diarrhea, it will need to undergo several diagnostic tests, which include a thorough physical examination, complete blood count, fecal examination, and x-rays. First off, the most important thing to do is correct the fluid-electrolyte imbalances brought about by diarrhea. If symptoms still persist, your vet may recommend specific blood tests, an ultrasound, and colonoscopy to examine the intestinal lining closely and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy.

Based on the nature of the disease and the underlying cause, the line of treatment will vary. If parasites or diet are the problem, a dietary change coupled with antibiotics may help correct Colitis. Giving your dog a high-fiber diet can help alleviate the symptoms.

When the cause is due to the abnormality of the immune system and the intestinal lining is inflamed, prednisone and similar drugs are usually given. This usually happens with histiocytic colitis and plasmocytic-lymphocytic colitis.

If your dog is prone to Colitis, your vet will probably prescribe a special diet for your dog to follow in order to prevent further episodes. If the cause is determined to be genetic, this dog shouldn’t be allowed to breed in an effort to stop the condition from reoccurring in its pups.