Colitis is an inflammation of the colon (large intestine). It may be acute, with sudden onset and short duration, or chronic, that is present for at least two to three weeks or exhibiting a pattern of episodic recurrence.

There are many potential causes of colitis such as inflammatory disorders, infections (bacterial, viral), diet, food allergies, cancer, trauma, pancreatitis, etc.

There is no age or gender association with colitis. One exception is histiocytic ulcerative colitis, which most often affects young boxer dogs.

Most often, colitis causes some combination of fresh bright red blood in the stool, mucus in the stool, straining to defecate, and increased frequency of defecation, often many times per day. With acute colitis, the dog usually does not show signs of systemic illness, but dogs with chronic colitis can experience clinically important weight loss.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Colitis is generally diagnosed by microscopic fecal examination, bloodwork, abdominal x-rays, history and physical examination findings. In some cases, special blood tests to evaluate the function of the pancreas or colonoscopy with biopsies may be recommended.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Many pets respond favorably to dietary modification. Some are treated with de-wormers, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications or drugs that affect the motility of the gastrointestinal tract.  Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Loose stool
  • Diarrhea with blood
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!