Crohn's Disease in Dogs

Crohn's disease is a rare condition that affects the digestive tract and the bowels of the dog. The disease will manifest through the inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining and results in stomach or intestinal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. The condition cannot be treated, as it has no known causes, but it is manageable. It is important that the dog is monitored, as the chronic vomiting and diarrhea may cause dehydration and anemia and may be fatal.

Causes of Crohn's Disease

Dogs with Crohn's disease have inflamed stomach lining and intestinal lining. The cause of this hasn’t been properly established. There are inflammatory cells that get attached to the digestive tract, but it is not known where the cells come from. 

There may be hereditary causes involved, but there are certain foods that may cause Crohn's disease as well.

It is believed that infections or internal parasites may also cause Crohn's disease.

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease will be signaled by vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms may be both present. However, if only the lower part of the bowel is affected, the dog will have diarrhea and will be less likely to vomit.

If the upper digestive tract is inflamed, the dog will vomit more often.

The dog will be weak, as he won’t get a sufficient amount of nutrients due to the chronic vomiting and the diarrhea. Consequently, he may sleep more and play less.

Diagnosing Crohn's Disease

A vet needs to establish if the digestive tract and bowel are inflamed. Several tests may be performed. A fecal matter sample may also be needed to determine if there are any infections or parasites that may be causing the disease.

Crohn's Disease Management

Because there are no known causes of Crohn's disease, there is no treatment for this condition. However, the vet will prescribe a few anti inflammatory drugs that should be administered on a regular basis.

If the vet finds an infection or intestinal parasites, these will be removed with suitable treatment.

A change in the dog’s diet must also be made. The dog should avoid spicy foods and foods that are rich in fats. There are several prescription diet options that may be administered. The vet may recommend a few food trials and you will have to monitor the dog’s reactions. Once a diet that agrees with your dog’s system is found, this should be kept for life.

Crohn's Disease Prognosis

The dog affected by Crohn's disease should be constantly monitored, as even under treatment, the dog may continue having cramps and diarrhea. Diarrhea can be serious and may lead to dehydration.

Dogs with Crohn's disease will often be lethargic and underweight, as the nutrients cannot be properly absorbed. The vet may recommend a few supplements that will help the dog maintain his weight and have a better appetite.