Colitis in dogs: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Colitis in dogs: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Colitis in dogs

Colitis in dogs is a common condition that causes an inflammation of the colon. The condition is mostly used to describe dog diarrhea or loose stools. Technically, colitis is not a condition in itself but it can be the result of a condition. It can be acute or chronic.

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Causes of colitis in dogs

There are many factors that cause colitis in dogs. Very often, it is caused by one disorder of inflammatory bowel disease. Regardless of the cause, the result of colitis in dogs results in reduced water absorption and a decreased ability to store feces in the colon.

Among the other causes of this inflammation we have:

  • Stress
  • Infections caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, Clostridium, and E. coli
  • Intestinal parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms
  • Pancreatitis
  • Viral infection
  • Dietary indiscretion (which refers to a dog eating whatever is placed in front of them)
  • Side-effects of an antibiotic or other drugs

Symptoms of colitis in dogs

Dogs with colitis will commonly display red blood and/or mucus in its feces. They might defecate more often than normal and strain to do so. If your dog is suffering from acute colitis, your dog might not display other signs except for straining to defecate or diarrhea.

Some other symptoms commonly associated with colitis include:

  • Constipation and straining
  • More frequent flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss


The potential causes of colitis are so varied that you must make sure that you provide your veterinarian with a complete history of your pet. Include any exposure to other dogs, travel, if your dog romps freely on your yard, if you walk him on a leash, or if there has been any change on his diet or feeding habits.

The veterinarian will go on to treat the cause of the colitis, which is why they will run a battery of tests to find this underlying cause. In most cases, you vet will give you medications and instructions on how to treat your dog at home. In more severe cases, he may hospitalize your dog to better control his diarrhea.

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