VOSD Vet

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Intestinal Disorder (Loss of Motility) in Dogs

Ileus in Dogs

Ileus in Dogs refers to a temporary and reversible obstruction in the intestines caused by issues with bowel motility. This condition arises from problems with peristalsis, which are wave-like contractions aiding in the movement of food along the digestive tract. Consequently, the accumulation of intestinal contents occurs in specific areas due to the inability of the intestines to function properly. Ileus is not a primary disease but rather a consequence of another underlying condition affecting intestinal motility.

Symptoms and Types

  • Anorexia (Loss of appetite)
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Mild abdominal distention or discomfort resulting from gas accumulation due to obstruction

Causes

  • Post-gastrointestinal surgery
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Infections and inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Persistent mechanical obstruction (e.g., foreign body in the GI tract)
  • Blockages of blood supply to the intestine or part of the intestine
  • Septicemia (systemic illness due to the presence of bacteria in the blood) caused by gram-negative bacteria
  • Shock
  • Abdominal injury
  • Intestinal distention due to aerophagia or excessive burping or belching
  • After the use of certain drugs
  • Toxicity (e.g., lead)

Diagnosis

Following a detailed history recording and comprehensive physical examination, routine laboratory tests will be conducted, including complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The primary aim of the diagnostic process is to identify the underlying cause of the issue. Routine laboratory results may offer insights into the underlying disease. Abdominal X-rays and ultrasound will aid in detecting various abnormalities such as the presence of gas, fluid, mechanical obstruction (e.g., foreign body), abdominal tumors, and similar conditions.

For further confirmation, veterinarians may employ more specific tests like Barium-Impregnated Polyethylene Spheres (BIPS). Barium, a chemical used in certain radiological studies, enhances the visualization of anatomical structures. BIPS, administered orally, demonstrate the extent of intestinal obstruction and motility disorder. Veterinarians assess the transit time of these markers through the intestines and any associated delays. This test also aids in pinpointing the specific anatomical site involved.

Endoscopy serves as another diagnostic option, particularly for evaluating mechanical obstruction. Veterinarians directly examine the stomach and intestine using an instrument called an endoscope. A rigid or flexible tube is inserted into the dog’s stomach, allowing visual inspection and image capture. In certain cases, exploratory surgery may be necessary to rule out mechanical obstruction. X-rays, computed tomography scans, magnetic imaging tests, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis may be required for animals suspected of spinal cord injury.

Treatment

Since ileus is a consequence of an underlying disease, addressing the root cause is crucial for resolving the issue. For instance, veterinarians may employ fluid therapy to rectify fluid and electrolyte imbalances, frequently observed in dogs with ileus. Additionally, drugs to promote intestinal motility may be administered to stimulate intestinal movements in some dogs. Throughout the treatment process, veterinarians will utilize a stethoscope to assess gut sounds and motility by listening to the abdomen.

Living and Management

When the primary underlying cause is identified and corrected, the prognosis for affected animals is excellent. However, pinpointing the precise underlying cause may pose challenges in some cases. It’s crucial to adhere to the instructions provided by your veterinarian regarding the care and nutrition of your dog. Promptly contact your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms in your dog.

For patients with a history of infections, regular temperature monitoring may be necessary at home. If medications are prescribed for your dog, ensure strict adherence to the prescribed frequency and dosage of each drug. Additionally, refrain from discontinuing or altering the treatment regimen without consulting your veterinarian first.

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