Last week I wrote about normal large intestine function. Probably the most common problem we see with canine large bowels is colitis. This is an inflammatory response that is usually due to dietary change or anxiety/stress. In most cases we will see a semi-sift to runny stool that contains blood and or mucus. Sometimes the stool looks like it is in a sausage casing. Dogs are usually feeling okay and eating fine. More severe cases can make a dog feel pretty yucky. Colitis is usually a very easy problem to resolve. Cats are more likely to get constipated. This is
most common with kidney failure, or in certain breeds such as the Siamese. Constipation can usually be handled with enemas and stool softeners. If large intestinal function really fails, a cat can become obstipated – packed full of feces in an abnormally dilated colon. This can be very serious and often requires surgery and life long nursing care. Tumors of the large intestine and rectal area are not as common in dogs and cats as they are in people, but they certainly occur. A tumor in the large intestine might cause diarrhea, streaks of blood on a normal stool, weight loss, severe gastrointestinal signs, or no signs at all. Unfortunately, colon tumors most often cause no signs until they are quite large, making them harder to treat.

Because so many diseases of dogs and cats do not show themselves until the disease is quite advanced, regular examination and wellness screening is essential for our beloved pets. Call us or come in to talk about how we can help you to prevent disease and to detect problems earlier, while they can be treated.

by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP