Ulcerative Colitis in Dogs

Ulcerative colitis in dogs is an inflammatory condition of the large intestine. It's most often associated with Irritable Bowel Disorder or with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disorder in which histiocytes, a type of cell responsible for causing inflammation in the body, penetrate the walls of your dog's intestine. Here's what you should know about ulcerative colitis in dogs.

Symptoms of Canine Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis occurs most often in puppies less than one year of age. Dogs with ulcerative colitis move their bowels more frequently, though they still pass the same amount of stool. They may strain to move their bowels, and their stool may contain blood or mucous.

Dogs with ulcerative colitis may become prone to accidents inside the house, since they can feel a great deal of urgency to move their bowels. They may vomit and experience loss of appetite. Weight loss can occur. Dogs with ulcerative colitis may appear depressed or lethargic. Dogs with ulcerative colitis often develop hemorrhoids as a result of straining to move their bowels.

Your dog could experience chronic stomach and abdominal pain as a result of ulcerative colitis. Your dog could spit up blood or bleed rectally. In severe cases, your dog could experience internal bleeding on a life threatening level.

Treating Canine Ulcerative Colitis

Treatment for ulcerative colitis can be difficult. Your dog will need to be fed a strict diet free of additives and preservatives. His diet will need to contain lots of protein and fiber. Many owners make food at home for their dogs with ulcerative colitis; ask for your vet's advice before attempting to make your own dog food. 

If you don't want to make your dog's food yourself at home, your vet can recommend a manufactured prescription food that meets your dog's dietary needs.

Your dog will need anti-inflammatory drugs to help control the inflammation in his intestines. Corticosteroids like prednisone are popular in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in dogs. Immunosuppressants can also help to reduce your dog's symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Managing Your Dog's Ulcerative Colitis

The most important part of managing your dog's ulcerative colitis is to follow strict dietary guidelines. Feed your dog only what the vet recommends. Don't give him table scraps or unapproved treats, as these can make his symptoms worse.

Feed your dog at regular, structured times to help avoid stress associated with irregular feeding schedules. Adhering to a feeding schedule also means that your dog will always be able to eat at a normal rate, since eating too fast due to excessive hunger can aggravate his symptoms.

Do your best to keep your dog's environment and life as stress free as possible. Make sure your dog receives proper medical check ups and treatment for another other ailments he develops, especially if he's taking immunosuppressant drugs. Try to eliminate toxins from your home as much as possible; use environmentally friendly household products. Give your dog high quality toys and stainless steel food dishes.