Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Colitis: overview

Contributor(s): Ken Harkin, James Simpson

Introduction

  • Often included under term inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • A common cause of chronic diarrhea in dogs.
  • Cause: food hypersensitivity, bacterial infection, parasites, frequently not determined.
  • Signs: increased frequency of defecation with fecal tenesmus; feces often with blood and mucus.
  • Diagnosis: colonoscopy, histopathology.
  • Treatment: depends on causes (dietary modification, sulfasalazine, antibiotics +/- corticosteroids and motility modifiers).
  • Prognosis: guarded for resolution (relapses common).
    Print off the owner factsheet on Colitis to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Unknown - considered to be an immune-mediated response to a luminal antigen such as bacteria or diet.
  • Bacterial etiology proposed on basis of response to antibiotics, eg Campylobacter spp Campylobacter jejuniSalmonella spp Salmonella spp and Clostridium spp.
  • Parasitic and infectious causes include whipworm Trichuris vulpis (Trichuris spp), Giardia spp Giardia duodenalis.

Pathophysiology

  • Mucosal damage → inflammatory response → abnormal motility and failure to absorb fluid and electrolytes from feces; also decreased intestinal transit time → increased frequency of defecation.
  • Inflammation → stimulation of Goblet cells → produce mucus.
  • Rectal inflammation → urgency to defecate.
  • Vomiting observed in 30% of cases due to colonic inflammation, NOT gastric.

Timecourse

  • Variable onset, often no inciting factor recognized.
  • Often recurs in bouts lifelong.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Jergens A E (1999) Inflammatory bowel disease: current perspectives. Vet Clinics of N America 29 (2), 501-521 PubMed.
  • Russell A L (1999) Glycoaminoglycan (GAG) deficiency in protective barrier as an underlying, primary cause of ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, interstitial cystitis and possibly Reiter's Syndrome. Med Hypotheses 52 (4), 297-301 PubMed.
  • Stonehewer J, Simpson J W, Else R W & Macintyre N (1998) Evaluation of B & T lymphocytes and plasma cells in colonic mucosa from healthy dogs and from dogs with inflammatory bowel disease. Research Vet Science 65 (1)59-63 PubMed.
  • Paterson S (1995) Food hypersensitivity in 20 dogs with skin and gastrointestinal signs. JSAP 36 (12), 529-534 PubMed.
  • Simpson J W (1995) Management of colonic disease in the dog. Waltham Focus 5, 17-22.
  • Simpson J W et al (1994) Use of a restricted antigen diet in the management of idiopathic canine colitis. JSAP 35 (5), 233-238 VetMedResource.
  • Lieb et al (1989) Plasmacytic lymphocytic colitis in the dog. Semin Vet Med and Surg 4 (3), 241-246 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Leib et al (1989) Plasmacytic lymphocytic colitis in dogs. In: Current Veterinary Therapy X, W B Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 939-944.


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