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It’s Insidious, It’s Fast and It’s Deadly – It’s Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis (HGE)

Canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis sounds scary, and it is scary. If the signs and symptoms are not recognized and aggressive treatment is not immediately received, its severe and sudden onset can be fatal.

The good news is that most dogs never get it. The bad news is that you don’t have much time if your dog gets it. That’s why it’s important to know what to look out for and what critical actions to take to save your dog’s life.

What is HGE?

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis occurs when the lining of the intestines leaks. What happens is that fluid, red blood cells, and protein leak out of the blood vessels and into the intestines, causing nausea, bloody vomiting, and profuse and explosive rectal bleeding. Your dog may never get it. They may get it once in their life or it may become a chronic condition.

It is not contagious.

Who gets HGE?

Dogs of any age, breed or sex can get it. Toys and smaller breeds, for example, Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, Miniature Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers between 2 and 4 years of age seem to predominate in treated animals.

What makes this disease so insidious is the cause is unknown and there is no warning. There are many theories, including diet, bacterial toxin, intestinal parasites, normal or lower blood protein levels, and possibly even stress. Studies also show that it seems to occur more in the spring.

Signs and symptoms

This disease is severe and progresses rapidly! The symptoms make a horrible mess! A perfectly healthy dog ​​today can be barely conscious in a pool of blood in the morning, then go into shock within hours and die within 24 hours. It is vital for you to know what to watch for.

Symptoms include bloody, often explosive diarrhea, bloody vomit, both with an extremely foul odor. Most people who have tried HGE will agree, comparing it to “blueberry jam” is the best way to describe it.

Other signs and symptoms include flatulence, lethargy, drooling, lack of appetite, dehydration, lethargy, depression, shock and possibly death.

Diagnosis

Your vet will start by eliminating the most obvious ones. They include parvovirus, obstruction, intestinal intussusception (telescoping of one part of the intestine into another), intestinal volvulus (twisting of the intestines), peptic ulcers, coronavirus, colitis, venom, hookworms, whipworms, leptospirosis, low platelets, mediosis, coccidiosis, malabsorption and cancer.

They will also note the absence of fever and no decrease in white blood cells, as well as normal or lower levels of protein in the blood. Dogs with HGE usually have a high packing cell volume (PCV), usually 60% or more, (normal is 35-55%). PCV is the measure of blood thickness caused by dehydration.

Treatment

Your vet will ask if you prefer conservative or aggressive treatment. Don’t waste time with conservative treatment. Insist on aggressive treatment. Your dog will remain in the hospital, without food or water by mouth for 1-4 days. It also includes IV treatments of potassium, an anti-inflammatory, and antibiotics to hydrate, prevent shock, and prevent sepsis.

Your vet may also change the protein in his diet. This means that if they were on a predominantly beef diet, they may switch to chicken and/or lamb and possibly cottage cheese.

Forecast

Your dog’s chance of survival is very good if caught early and treated aggressively. Keep in mind that about 10-15% have the risk of more than one episode.

Bottom Line – Canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can be fatal. Know the signs and symptoms and take immediate and aggressive action. It could be the difference between life and death.

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