Vet issues warning
Dr. John Rosie, founder of Belper-based veterinary clinic Vetcare@Home, alarms pet owners of the rapid, increased spreading of a potent dog virus called gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is characterised by the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, commonly the stomach and intestines of the affected animal. There are several causes of this dog virus infection, namely, parasites, bacteria, or reaction to a medication, new food, or spoiled food. The usual noticeable symptoms of gastroenteritis on dogs include diarrhoea, vomiting, or both. It shares the same signs with a highly contagious dog virus called canine parvovirus. Both are infectious dog diseases that pet owners should be cautious of.
According to Dr. Rosie, he has been apparently treating about five dogs who are afflicted by this virus, per week. It was because of these occurrences that alarmed him. The sudden spike of gastroenteritis is uncommon, and one does not see numerous cases of this dog virus in a span of a year.
Furthermore, he observed that there has been a ‘higher than normal’ recorded gastrointestinal cases of dogs in the last two weeks. There were even other veterinary clinics that confirmed that they have treated dogs stricken with gastroenteritis. It blatantly shows the swift transmission of this dehydration-causing dog virus.
Dr. Rosie says, ‘We see a lot of people in their own home, but there has been a higher number of cases, although we don’t have the exact diagnosis of what the cause is yet.’ However, he did offer a positive feedback by stating, ‘The dogs seem to be responding to the treatment we are giving them.’
Additionally, he gave a tip to canine pet owners on how to prevent their dogs from catching gastroenteritis. According to him, they must always keep in mind to practise proper hygiene to their pooches.
It means that pet owners should clean and, more importantly, disinfect their dogs’ paws after taking them out for a walk. By doing this preventive measure, it can lower the possibility of their dogs picking up the virus.
Knowing more about gastroenteritis
The causes of gastroenteritis may be induced by lighter causes, such as parasites and dietary indiscretion. The latter is one of the common causes of gastroenteritis because some pet owners feed their dogs ‘people’ food or table scraps. On the other hand, heavier causes like thyroid diseases, cancer, or tumours may also prompt this dog virus.
The symptoms of gastroenteritis are not only limited to diarrhoea and vomiting alone. Listed below are signs that pet owners should also take note of:
- Weight loss and loss of appetite. When dogs experience diarrhoea, their nutrition and water supply gradually becomes lower. Needless to say, it will weaken their bodies and make them lose their appetite.
- Yellowish or foamy vomit. The colour of the vomit suggests that it comes from bile, which is a digestive fluid created by the liver and later on kept in the gall bladder. It is a distinct indicator of gastroenteritis especially against other types of stomach ailment.
- Paler and softer faeces. Since gastroenteritis may cause diarrhoea, it will prompt them to defaecate in large volumes, which may happen three to six times a day. The afflicted pooches produce faeces that have the consistency of ‘soft ice cream.’
As soon as these symptoms manifest, it is best for canine pet owners to immediately call or visit their nearest veterinary clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
The process of diagnosing gastroenteritis is a process of elimination. Since vomiting and diarrhoea can also be symptoms of other internal medical conditions, it is important to know the other signs that may correlate to gastroenteritis.
An updated medical history file of the dogs can make the process of diagnosing easier. It contains the past medications, diagnoses, or surgeries the dog has taken or undergone. The more information the pet owner can provide to the vet, the faster and more accurate it is to pinpoint its illness. Once the diagnosis is done, the next step is treatment.
The treatments administered towards the affected dogs are more focused on the symptoms than the actual condition. Gastroenteritis can cause diarrhoea; therefore, pet owners are instructed by veterinarians to focus on rehydrating their dogs. Rehydration plays an important role in replenishing the loss of fluids in a dog’s body and balancing the maintenance of blood electrolytes.
Furthermore, restricting their dog from eating food for a day may be suggested by the veterinarian. The sole purpose of this is to let their dog’s gastrointestinal tract rest and gradually recover. Once that is done, they are recommended to feed their pooch with soft and mild food, then they can work their way back to the dog’s regular diet.
In order to prevent gastroenteritis on dogs, provide them with a healthy diet and a clean environment, and make it a priority. They must also bring their pooches on a routine deworming to eliminate any parasite that can cause this dog virus.