Originally published Jan. 2008, republished Jan. 2016

Unfortunately, my dog went through this twice. The details in this blog will be from our experience.

What does HGE stand for?

HGE stands for Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis.

What are Canine HGE symptoms?

Signs your dog may have Canine HGE include: Increased bowel movements could be a sign of HGE providing nothing in your dog’s diet has changed. However, the most apparent sign is a sudden onset of bloody diarrhea in a previously healthy dog.

Vomiting, lack of appetite, little to no energy, shock, and collapse may also be noted. Initially, dehydration is not usually present but can develop quickly.

Our story, my dog spewed so much blood, it was like someone dumped a pitcher of cherry kool-aid on the floor. Luckily we were at the vet when this occurred and he was able to be treated right away. No blood transfusion was needed thankfully!

What causes Canine Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis?

No one cause has been determined as there are many possibilities for bringing on this disease. Some of those contributing factors may include getting into trash, bacterial infections, viruses, parasites, stress, and toxins (are hidden in many items). Here are some lead-free pet food bowls.

What tests are done to diagnose Canine Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis?

HGE is diagnosed primarily by ruling out other causes of bloody diarrhea. The sudden appearance of bloody diarrhea in a previously healthy dog tends to lean toward the HGE diagnosis. However other causes of gastrointestinal bleeding must be considered as possibilities and subsequently ruled out.

Tests for Canine HGE: To determine this, a complete history will be taken and some of the following tests may be performed: Complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, urinalysis, fecal examination, Elisa for parvovirus, bacterial cultures and cytology of the stool.

How is Canine HGE treated?

Our veterinarian recommended no food or water by mouth for a set duration to let my dog’s system relax. Also, your vet may treat your dog with fluid therapy (which can be administered by an IV or a Sub Q injection) as well as medication to take home.

Once diarrhea and/or vomiting have ceased, a bland diet (such as boiled chicken and rice or squash) should be gradually introduced. All food should be reintroduced slowly and in small increments.

After several days of no notable signs, you may slowly introduce your pets regular food back into their diet by mixing it with their bland diet. Probiotics are good for any dog but especially if your dog has been on antibiotics.

Canine HGE home treatment

This will be determined by your veterinarian but will likely last up to two weeks. During this time you will need to administer the prescribed medicine and food every few hours.

Although your dog will show signs of improvement within the first few days, it is imperative to your dog’s recovery to complete the course of treatment in its entirety.

Is Canine HGE contagious?

There is no proof that this is contagious. However, if you have multiple dogs it might be beneficial to keep a close eye on them. Update: At the time of writing this blog, I was told it was not contagious but I no longer believe that to be true. Either Canine HGE is contagious or my other guess it that multiple dogs in the same household are under stress which could induce this condition.

Is Canine HGE an isolated incident or on-going problem?

If treated immediately by your vet, your dog will show signs of improvement within a few days and is an isolated incident. However, some dogs can experience repeat episodes.

At that time you will need to figure out if stress plays a factor and how to reduce it. Note: If your dogs CBC test results show an elevation in white blood cell count, this is consistent with a stress response.

Should stress not be a factor, you may have to take your dog back to the vet to explore other possibilities. Update: Stress was, in fact, the underlying cause for my dog. A battery of test was done each time this happened to him and they all came back fine. Also, once I made a few adjustments to how much I was working and how I left & entered my home to prevent separation anxiety, it never returned again.

Most patients, especially when HGE is recognized and treated aggressively, have an excellent prognosis and a full recovery is expected.

Other articles that may interest:

Natural herbs to shrink a dog lipoma, Teflon free toaster oven is Safer for your pets, pet-friendly cleaning and Fight fleas naturally

If you enjoyed this post:

Disclaimer: The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet has a medical problem, please seek medical attention from your veterinarian. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails will do our best to ensure that information presented is accurate and up-to-date. Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails does not accept any responsibility for damages, loss or illness which may arise in connection with the use of the information published on this website. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. Opinions expressed here are those of individual contributors. © Happy Trails & Wag’n Tails, 2006-2019. All Rights Reserved.

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7 Responses to “Canine HGE: Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis Symptoms, Causes & Treatment”

  1. Erica says:

    I have two dogs and they both got this. My female is still in the hospital. We caught it early, but she won’t eat. They can’t send her home until she eats. I am so worried. They said it wasn’t contagious, but I find it strange that both of my dogs got this.

    • Happy Trails & Wag'n Tails says:

      That’s what I was told too. Hmmm.

    • Janet says:

      The same thing happened to me. I have four dogs, and two of them got this. (My house look like a crime scene with all the blood, as well as vomiting, the smell was unbearable. I cleaned my house thoroughly. ) They are both in the hospital right now. They are showing signs of improvement. But I find that it’s weird that they say it’s not contagious.

  2. Natasha says:

    Hi i had my chinese crested treated at the vets for this Monday. Tuesday afternoon they cleared her to go home after her final blood test. That night she did the wrist poo but no blood. Just dark tar like diaherrea. Wednesday morning she did nearly a formed poo but still dark brown/black. Thursday no poo. She is on antibiotics 2x a day for 5 days. I’m still so nervous. She has her personality back. Drinking water and eating boiled chicken and rice. But i have a really bad feeling tonight so im syringing water to her. She seems quite but it is bed time.

    • Happy Trails & Wag'n Tails says:

      I know it’s your baby but try to stay positive, it’s a process. Our pets can be very connected to us and they pick up on the stress we feel. I wish you and your dog the best!

      • Natasha says:

        Update. Her poo is back to normal. She is eating and drinking. She has lost 300grams. I’ve read up on this and i heard reducing meat from her diet and adding pumpkin in can help. I’ve got her on royal canin small dog sensitive stomach and pumpkin to be added soon. Mixing her biscuits with the chicken and rice slowly first.

    • Janet says:

      Poor baby I hope she turned out okay

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