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Excessive Bacteria in the Small Intestine in Dogs

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition characterized by the abnormal accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine. Although the small intestine naturally harbors some bacteria, an excessive count can disrupt normal intestinal functions, leading to symptoms such as loose stools and weight loss. Fortunately, with treatment, SIBO typically resolves within a few days to a few weeks, offering an excellent prognosis for those affected.

Symptoms and Types

Typical symptoms encompass loose stools, swift weight loss, diarrhea, intermittent vomiting, and audible intestinal tract sounds (resulting from gas).


Although a genetic predisposition has been ruled out as a contributing factor to the disorder, certain breeds exhibit a greater susceptibility to its development. German Shepherds and Chinese Shar Peis, in particular, demonstrate the highest incidence rates among dog breeds. Insufficient thyroid levels, diminished pancreatic enzyme production, low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, and intestinal disease are also prevalent causes of this bacterial overgrowth.


Diagnosis typically involves veterinarians conducting blood work and bacterial cultures to identify the underlying causes of the intestinal condition. In certain instances, a more invasive procedure like an endoscopy may be necessary to internally examine the intestine.


Treatment is usually administered on an outpatient basis, with noticeable improvement often occurring swiftly, typically within a few days to a few weeks. It’s commonly advised to transition the patient to a highly-digestible diet to minimize intestinal strain during the healing process. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to address bacterial growth.

Living and Management

Living and management involve monitoring your dog’s weight and protein levels (albumin) over time to track progress toward full recovery. Prolonged diarrhea should be closely observed to prevent severe dehydration. Furthermore, repeat treatments may be necessary. A positive prognosis is expected for this disease when it’s not linked with other serious medical conditions like intestinal cancer.


As of now, there are no established preventive measures for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

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