Understanding Stress-Induced Colitis
Stress-induced colitis in dogs as the name implies is often caused by stressful situations such as boarding, moving or being left alone. The term colitis derives from “colon” which is the dog’s large intestine. The term “itis” is just a word particle used to depict inflammation.
The most common symptoms of colitis in dogs is frequent diarrhea that can be semi-formed to liquid. The dog often has several squirts during the day. A characteristic of this condition is the fact that affected dogs may often be seen straining during and after they defecate, which is often confused for constipation.
When an owner has a dog with colitis, he may often think the dog had diarrhea, and now has constipation. Or if he missed the diarrhea in the first place, he may just think he is dealing with constipation.
What we are dealing in this case in reality is a case of tenesmus, a medical term used to depict a feeling of incomplete evacuation that triggers the need to strain and try to produce more stools. It’s important to recognize if you are really dealing with constipation or a case of colitis with tenesmus, since the treatment for both conditions obviously are completely different!
So keep an eye on your dog, if he had several bouts of diarrhea and now is straining and nothing comes out, most likely you are dealing with tenesmus and not constipation! Other signs of stress-induced colitis include blood in the dog’s stool and presence of mucus, especially in chronic cases.
Stress though isn’t the only factor know for causing a bout of colitis. So can parasites, infections, and exposure to contaminated food.
However, at times, stress may still be the culprit as it can lower a dog’s immunity and predispose him to inflammatory bowel disease and some other types of parasites.
Treatment and Home Remedies for Stress-Induced Colitis
If your dog has stress-induced colitis, part of the treatment will entail getting rid of some of the stress in the first place. Once the stress-triggers are removed, the symptoms will often subside. Fasting the dog for 24 hours and then feeding a bland diet as outlined in dog upset stomach home remedies, may help. VCA animal hospital suggests feeding a hypoallergenic diet, increasing fiber by adding psyllium, beet pulp or fructooligosaccharides. If the colitis is triggered by an infection, antimicrobial drugs may be prescribed.
If the colitis is triggered by inflammatory or immune-mediated causes, then anti inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs may be helpful. The good news is that colitis often resolves easily and the dog recovers quickly. With treatment, most dogs go back to normal within 3 to 5 days. When colitis persists, it often means that the underlying cause is not being correctly addressed.