What is canine hemorrhagic gastroenteritis?
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is an acute disorder of dogs characterized by vomitingand/or bloody diarrhea.
How is HGE diagnosed?
The diagnosis of HGE may be challenging and ultimately require biopsies in persistent cases.Some possible causes of HGE include stomach or intestinal ulcers, trauma, gastrointestinaltumors or obstruction, foreign bodies, infectious diseases, (e.g. parvovirus) and coagulationdisorders. Evaluation usually requires a complete blood count, biochemical analysis of theblood, urinalysis, x-rays, coagulation tests, fecal evaluation, ultrasound or endoscopicexamination of the gastrointestinal tract.HGE is most common in small breed dogs. The packed cell volume or hematocrit is often above60% in dogs with HGE. Most normal dogs have a hematocrit of 37-55%. The elevated hema-tocrit provides an important clue that the patient may have HGE.
What causes it?
The exact cause of HGE remains unknown.How is it treated?Dogs with HGE will appear severely ill and, if untreated, may die. In most cases, the disorderappears to run its course in a few days if the dog is given appropriate supportive care. Intra-venous fluid therapy provides the foundation of HGE therapy. Subcutaneous fluids (given underthe skin) are not usually considered adequate to meet the significant fluid requirements of mostdogs with HGE.If intravenous fluid therapy is not given, the dog's red blood count will continue to elevate due to dehydration. In this situation, the dog is at risk for a potentially fatal clotting disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Once DIC has begun, it is often irreversible and may result in death.Additional therapy for HE may include antibiotics, anti-ulcer medications and corticosteroids.