When it comes to taking care of your dog, there are a number of issues and conditions that can occur. It is important to know about some of the most common problems so you can act accordingly to deal with them. One such issue in dogs is colitis. Learn more about colitis as well as what you should do if your dog develops the condition. Then, you can rest assured that you are prepared to take the best care of your dog's health now and in the future. 

What Is Colitis?

Simply put, the term colitis refers to an inflammation in the intestines, specifically the large intestine and colon. This is also known simply as large bowel inflammation.

What Are the Symptoms of Colitis?

The primary symptom of colitis in dogs is diarrhea or loose stool. If your dog has diarrhea several times over the course of a day or several days, they may have colitis. This diarrhea could be watery or even have blood in it. 

Your dog may also need to go outside frequently to have a bowel movement when they have colitis. This sense of urgency is common with the condition. Your dog might also appear restless or lethargic because of the condition. Vomiting can occur as well but is less common than diarrhea and loose stools. 

What Causes Colitis?

There are numerous causes of colitis that need to be considered when assessing what to do about the condition. Sometimes, colitis occurs because a dog has a food allergy. The inflammation is a reaction to the allergen in the food. Other times, your dog may have contracted an illness like salmonella or E. coli. Colitis can also be a reaction to anesthesia or other medications. 

Stress is also a possible cause of colitis in dogs. If you have recently been away for a long period of time, moved into a new house, suffered a loss in the household, or something similar, your dog may react by developing stress colitis. 

Even parasites like intestinal worms can be the culprit of colitis in your dog. 

What Should You Do About Colitis?

As you can see, there are many potential causes of colitis in your dog. The first step is to observe your dog. If the colitis symptoms last for more than a day, it is very important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Frequent diarrhea can lead to dehydration which could be life-threatening to your dog. 

When you go to the veterinarian's office, they will examine your dog and run several tests. They might do X-rays to rule out a partial intestinal blockage. They will also likely run blood work to look for signs of infection.

This will guide them in treatment. Stress colitis, infections, parasites, and even colitis as a reaction to medications can all be treated through medications. Food allergies can be treated by changing to a hypoallergenic food. 

With this improved knowledge of colitis and your dog, you can be sure to contact your vet as soon as possible if your dog starts to show colitis symptoms.