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3 Tips for Preventing Gastroenteritis
Reduce your pet's chances of developing gastroenteritis with these three tips.
Although it's impossible to eliminate every item that could tempt your pet, putting food, your kid's toys, cleaning products, and other items in closed storage areas can reduce the chance that your pet will get into something they shouldn’t. Some pets are very skilled at opening closed cabinet doors. If you have a furry Houdini, buy a few cabinet locks to keep stored items safe.
Discourage Garbage Eating
Eating spoiled food is one way your pet can become ill. Remove trash from your home promptly. If your dog or cat can't resist a little trash foraging, take out the trash after every meal. Outdoors, use trash cans with lids that stay on even if the can is knocked over.
Don't Go Raw
Raw food may seem like the natural choice for a carnivore, but feeding raw or undercooked foods increases the risk that your pet will develop a bacterial infection. If you don't want to feed your pet commercially made foods, cook meat thoroughly before you give it to your pet.
Lengthy bouts of vomiting and diarrhea can be a sign that your pet has gastroenteritis, a common condition that occurs when the lining of the stomach and intestines becomes irritated. Since frequent diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, a visit to the veterinarian is a good idea if you notice any of the signs of gastroenteritis.
What Causes Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis can occur if your pet eats something it should not, such as garbage, non-food items or feces. Although giving your pet a few scraps from the dinner table may seem harmless, eating people food can cause gastroenteritis. Unfortunately, some foods that you enjoy can irritate your pet's gastrointestinal system. Other causes of gastroenteritis include:
What Happens if My Pet Becomes Dehydrated?
Dehydration occurs when your pet loses fluids faster than it can replace them. Your pet also loses electrolytes in addition to fluids. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that regulate blood acidity, nerve and muscle function, and the body's hydration level. If dehydration is not treated promptly, it can lead to kidney failure and even death. These symptoms may occur if your pet is dehydrated:
How Will My Veterinarian Diagnose Gastroenteritis?
Your veterinarian will perform a complete examination, which will probably include a few diagnostic tests, including fecal testing for parasites. A blood test may be ordered to determine if your pet's blood cells are normal and to check for signs of problems with your pet's organs. X-rays and ultrasounds can give your pet's doctor a better view of the gastrointestinal system. If you furry friend has swallowed a non-food item, the outline of the item will probably appear in the X-rays.
During the visit, you may be asked if there were any changes to your pet's normal routine, such as travel or recent changes in food. Your pet's veterinarian may also want to know if your dog or cat was exposed to pesticides or cleaning products, or recently began taking a new medication or supplement. Because the cause of gastroenteritis isn't always immediately apparent, any information you can provide will help the veterinarian make a diagnosis.
How is Gastroenteritis Treated?
Replacing lost fluid is a priority if your pet has gastroenteritis. Your veterinarian may recommend that your pet receive subcutaneous (under the skin) or intravenous fluids during your visit. Additional treatment will depend on the cause of the vomiting and diarrhea. For example, antibiotics can help treat bacterial infections, while surgery may be needed if a foreign body is stuck in your pet's gastrointestinal tract.
Whether you are concerned that your pet may have gastroenteritis or another illness, or it's time for your pet's annual examination, we're committed to helping you maintain your furry friend's health. Call us if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment.
Pet Health Network: Gastroenteritis in Dogs, 10/21/11
PetMD: Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis in Small Animals
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Don't take a good vet for granted, that's what I say. I currently live in another state and have taken my 10 year old dog to numerous vets over the years (California, Colorado, Vegas, and then some). Never have I ever received the attention and care I've gotten w/Dr. Hines. Within the past 3 months alone, my dog went to 3 different vets for a horrible and painful skin problem that broke out all over her body.
The first vet: I spent more time ponying up the $175 for the visit than the Dr. spent actually looking at my dog. He performed a woods lamp exam for ringworm. Even without Google or a veterinary degree, I could tell it wasn't ringworm. Thanks for taking my money.
Second vet: "Here's some spray, now here's your bill. Bring her back in two weeks so I can charge you another visit." No tests, nothing.
Between the two, I felt like I got nowhere. No definitive answer on why this affected my dog and the medication given wasn't even for a diagnosed condition. Just some general topical spray. I could have bought it at Petsmart and saved myself the time and money.
Recently, on a visit to Idaho, I planned ahead to bring my dog to the Rupert Animal Clinic. I asked the same questions, had the same concerns and now have different results. Dr. Hines gave me options on what route to take, ran appropriate tests and communicated with me every step of the way (even calling me personally when test results came in). My primary concern was cancer. Our dog is like our child- we'll pay the money if we can keep her healthy and safe. In the future, I've resolved to bring my dog to Rupert Animal Clinic on our annual trip for all of her exams. I know she won't be treated as a little cash cow to exploit an owner's love for pets.