31 Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis in a dog
The dog had an acute onset of haemorrhagic diarrhoea and vomiting starting the evening before presentation. On the evening of presentation she was lethargic and was not willing to eat. The diarrhoea was liquid and contained large amounts of frank blood. There was a little tenesmus, but she was producing a large volume of diarrhoeic fluid. The vomitus initially contained digested food and then only bile tinged fluid.
The dog was last vaccinated 4 months earlier and had been dewormed with fenbendazole 2 months prior to presentation. Her usual diet was a mixture of commercial dry complete dog food and commercial canned food and she received treats. She also scavenged and the owners said that it was possible but unlikely that she could have eaten something from the rubbish.
On physical examination she appeared very quiet, but was responsive. She was in good body condition (body condition score 5/9). Mucous membranes were moist, but hyperaemic, with a relatively slow capillary refill time (CRT) at 3 seconds. Thoracic auscultation revealed no abnormalities other than an increased heart rate of 200 beats per minute. Her respiratory rate was 16 breaths per minute. Peripheral pulse quality was poor, with weak thready pulses. Her peripheral lymph nodes appeared normal.
She appeared uncomfortable on palpation of her small intestines and the colon felt enlarged and doughy. Rectal temperature was normal at 38.2° C, but there were dark bloody faeces present on the thermometer.
The major problems for this dog were the profound haemorrhagic diarrhoea and the vomiting. Lethargy, decreased appetite and probably tachycardia were likely to be secondary to the underlying disorder. As the onset was acute, more chronic disorders were not on the original differential diagnoses lists.