Canine Colitis Diagnosis with the TLI Blood Test

Canine colitis occurs if the large intestinal lining is inflamed. Colitis in dogs may be acute or chronic and can be caused viruses, fungi, bacteria or by intestinal parasites. The large intestine is also known as the colon and this is where the feces are stored before being eliminated. If the small intestine is infected, the dog has enteritis; if both the small and the large intestine are infected, the dog has enterocolitis. Colitis in dogs can be diagnosed using the TLI Blood Test or using other tests.

Causes of Canine Colitis

Colitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses, which may be ingested when the dog eats from the garbage. Parasites lodging in the intestine may also irritate the lining of the colon. Colitis or enterocolitis may be a secondary disease in conditions such as cancer or pancreatitis. A dog that is allergic to certain food ingredients may also have an inflamed intestinal lining. Stressed dogs are more prone to colitis.

Symptoms of Colitis

Colitis in dogs may be signaled by the following signs:

  • Diarrhea; the stool is very liquid and may often contain mucus or even blood
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy

Acute colitis may be nothing to worry about, but if the condition is chronic, this may indicate that the dog has a more severe illness.

Diagnosing Canine Colitis

If your dog displays any colitis symptoms, you should consult the vet and get a proper diagnosis. The diagnostics can be done through blood, urine and feces tests; the cause of colitis must be determined.

The trypsin-like immunoreactivity (TLI) blood test is often used to diagnose colitis. The trypsinogen is a proenzyme secreted by the pancreas; this reaches the dog’s intestine. When it gets to the small intestine, it will transform into trypsin, which helps in the digestion of the proteins. If the dog is healthy, an amount of trypsinogen is released into the blood and will appear in the blood sample, being detectable through the TLI test.

The dog must fast prior to taking the test. If the dog has recently eaten, the amount of trypsin-like immunoreactivity may be slightly increased and may appear normal.

Even though the TLI test will give reliable results, the vet may choose to perform other tests also, to determine the cause of the colitis. The TLI test will only indicate if the colon is inflamed. Ultrasound or x-rays may show if tumors are present. The vet may also perform a biopsy or a colonoscopy.

Other TLI Test Uses

The TLI test is used to assess the health of the pancreas or to diagnose conditions such as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency or pancreatitis (the inflammation of the pancreas).

Colitis Treatment Options

The treatment for colitis varies according to the cause of the inflammation. The treatment may include dewormers for parasites, antibiotics for viruses, bacteria or fungi, or anti-inflammatory medication.

The dog’s diet should be altered until he no longer has diarrhea. Feed your dog a low fat food that is high in fibers.