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Pathology key points

Gastoinstestinal disorders are common (10-20% dogs)1 and one of the main reasons for consultation2.

These disorders can have different origins3, 4:

  • Gastrointestinal (e.g. dietary hypersensitivity/intolerances, digestive infections, inflammatory disorders, neoplasia, obstructions, mobility/mechanical disorders, antibiotic resistant diarrheas, degenerative/congenital)
  • Non gastro-intestinal (disorder of other abdominal organ – e.g. liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas – peritoneal neoplasia or peritonitis)
  • Systemic (metabolic disorders - e.g. uremia, ketoacidosis, hepatic encephalopathy, hypoadrenocorticism or electrolyte disorder - drug or toxic-induced)
  • Neurological (trauma or neurological and vestibular disorder or infection)
  • Neuromuscular/anal (if constipation).
  • Miscellaneous (uncommon infections, stress, hernia, hematological or cardiac)

Risk factors include:
Diet and scavenging1,5 stress and anxiety (irritable bowel syndrome)7, breed for certain pathologies (like Norwegian Lundehund, Basenji, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier for protein-losing enteropathy; Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer and Maltese for acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome;  Boxers and French bulldogs for colitis)5, 6, 7.


Clinical examination and history

Blood cell count, biochemistry, endocrine testing, serology

Urinalysis/faecal analysis

Imaging, cytology/histopathology

1. Hubbard K et al. Risk of vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs. Vet Rec 2007; 161(22): 755-7.
2. Hill PB et al. Survey of the prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of dermatological conditions in small animals in general practice. Vet Rec 2006; 158(16): 533-9. 
3. Rosé A, Neiger R. Causes of vomiting in dogs and usefulness of clinical investigations. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere. 2013; 41(1): 16-22.
4. Gough A. Differential diagnosis in small animal medicine. Blackwell publishing 2007; 26-31.
5. Simpson JW. Diet and large intestinal disease in dogs and cats. J Nutr 1998; 128(12 Suppl): 2717S-2722S.
6. Mortier F et al. Acute haemorrhagic diarrhoea syndrome in dogs: 108 cases. Vet Rec 2015; 176(24): 627.
7. Equilino M et al. Evaluation of serum biochemical marker concentrations and survival time in dogs with protein-losing enteropathy. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015; 246(1): 91-9.