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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 the warning signs of Canine HGE?

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 & 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, toxins and stress.

Is Canine HGE contagious to my other dogs?

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 it a fatal disease?

With prompt veterinary care, most dogs respond to treatment and recover completely. If left untreated, this can be a deadly disease.

How is Canine Hemorrhagic GastroEnteritis diagnosed?

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.

How long will at-home treatment last?

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 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.


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Erica
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Erica

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.

Janet
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Janet

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.

Natasha
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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… Read more »

Janet
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Janet

Poor baby I hope she turned out okay

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