Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a serious illness that affects dogs, causing them to have sudden and severe diarrhea with blood in it. It’s quite scary for both the dog and the owner. While any dog can get HGE, it’s more common in young dogs, especially those that are small or miniature in size, like Yorkshire terriers, miniature schnauzers, French poodles (miniature), Pekingese, and Shetland sheepdogs.

When a dog has HGE, it’s important to act fast because they can become dangerously dehydrated very quickly, and in some cases, it can even lead to death. The symptoms can come on very suddenly, so if you notice your dog having bloody diarrhea or acting lethargic, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Symptoms Of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis In Dogs

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) is a condition that affects the stomach and intestines, causing symptoms like bloody diarrhea. When a dog has HGE, their stool might have a jelly-like appearance and be bright red in color due to the blood mixed in with it. Along with this distinctive diarrhea, other symptoms can include:

One of the key signs that your dog might have hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is if they start having diarrhea with blood in it. This blood might make the diarrhea look like a jelly-like substance. Your dog could have a lot of diarrhea, and it might be a bright red color.

Apart from bloody diarrhea, other things to look out for in your dog are:

  • Vomiting: If your dog is throwing up, it could be a sign of this illness.
  • Dehydration: Keep an eye on whether your dog is drinking enough water. If not, they might be getting dehydrated.
  • Lethargy: Is your dog unusually tired and lacking energy? This could be a sign of something wrong.
  • Lack of appetite: If your dog suddenly doesn’t want to eat, it could indicate they’re not feeling well.
  • Depression: Your dog might seem sad or down, which could be linked to this illness.
  • Abdominal pain: Watch for signs that your dog is uncomfortable in their belly area.
  • Fever: Check if your dog has a higher body temperature than normal.

Causes Of Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis In Dogs

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs can be scary, but understanding its causes can help keep your furry friend healthy. Here’s what you need to know:

Bacterial Infections:

Certain bacteria, like Escherichia coli (E. coli) or Clostridium perfringens, can cause hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs. These bacteria might enter your dog’s system through contaminated food or water.

Viral Infections:

Some viruses, such as parvovirus or coronavirus, can also trigger hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs. These viruses are highly contagious and can spread easily among dogs, especially in places like dog parks or kennels.

Stress or Anxiety:

Dogs can sometimes develop hemorrhagic gastroenteritis due to stress or anxiety. Major changes in their environment, like moving to a new home or being separated from their owner for long periods, can lead to stress-related digestive issues.

Dietary Factors:

Certain foods or dietary indiscretions, such as eating spoiled food, garbage, or unfamiliar objects, can upset your dog’s stomach and potentially lead to HGE.


Some dogs may have allergic reactions to certain foods or substances, which can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and contribute to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis symptoms.


While less common, some breeds may have a genetic predisposition to developing HGE. Breeds like miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, and Poodles are among those reported to be more susceptible.

Treatment For Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis In Dogs

Symptom Management:

The primary goal of treatment for hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs is to alleviate symptoms and stabilize the condition. This approach prioritizes addressing the immediate health concerns rather than directly targeting the underlying cause of the condition.

Urgent Medical Attention:

HGE is a serious condition that requires prompt medical intervention. The sudden onset of bloody diarrhea can lead to rapid dehydration, which poses a severe risk to the dog’s health and must be addressed without delay to improve survival chances.

Hospitalization and Fluid Therapy:

Most dogs diagnosed with HGE will need to be hospitalized to receive intensive care. Intravenous fluid therapy is a cornerstone of treatment, aimed at replenishing lost fluids and electrolytes due to persistent diarrhea. Continuous fluid administration is essential until the diarrhea subsides and hydration is restored.

Shock Management:

In severe cases where the dog goes into shock due to fluid loss and systemic complications, steroid medications may be administered to stabilize the cardiovascular system and mitigate the inflammatory response.

Blood or Plasma Transfusions:

Dogs that have experienced significant blood loss as a result of HGE may require blood or plasma transfusions to replenish depleted blood volume and support vital organ function.

Antibiotics for Infection Prevention:

Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent secondary bacterial infections, which can occur due to the disruption of the intestinal lining and compromised immune function associated with HGE. These medications help reduce the risk of complications and aid in the overall recovery process.

Nutritional Support:

During the acute phase of HGE treatment, food and water intake are typically withheld to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest and heal. Nutritional support may be provided through alternative means, such as intravenous fluids or specialized liquid diets, to maintain the dog’s energy levels and support vital functions.

Gradual Reintroduction of Food and Water:

As the dog responds positively to treatment and gastrointestinal symptoms improve, a gradual reintroduction of food and water is initiated under the guidance of veterinary professionals. This gradual approach helps prevent digestive upset and allows the dog’s system to adjust to normal feeding patterns once again.

Monitoring and Follow-Up:

Throughout the treatment process, close monitoring of the dog’s condition is essential to assess response to therapy, monitor hydration status, and detect any potential complications. Follow-up appointments with the veterinarian may be necessary to ensure complete recovery and address any lingering concerns.

How To Treat Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis In Dogs At Home

Keep Your Dog Comfortable:

Ensure your dog has a comfortable and quiet space to rest. Limit activity to prevent further stress on the body.

Provide Access to Fresh Water:

Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water. Dehydration is a risk with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, so encourage your dog to drink regularly.

Offer Bland Food:

Feed your dog bland, easily digestible food such as boiled chicken and rice. This can help soothe the stomach and provide essential nutrients.

Monitor Symptoms:

Keep an eye on your dog’s symptoms. If the diarrhea continues for more than 24 hours or if your dog shows signs of dehydration (such as excessive thirst, lethargy, or sunken eyes), seek veterinary care immediately.

Encourage Rest:

Rest is crucial for recovery. Limit activity and allow your dog to rest as much as possible.

Consider Probiotics:

Probiotics may help restore balance to the gut flora and aid in digestion. Consult your veterinarian before giving any supplements to your dog.

Maintain Hygiene:

Clean up any accidents promptly to prevent the spread of bacteria and minimize the risk of reinfection.

Follow Vet’s Advice:

If your dog has been prescribed medication or a special diet by the veterinarian, make sure to follow their instructions carefully.

Watch for Improvement:

Keep an eye on your dog’s condition. If they show signs of improvement, gradually reintroduce their regular diet. However, if symptoms worsen or do not improve, seek veterinary care promptly.

Provide Comfort:

Offer your dog plenty of love and comfort during their recovery. Your presence can help reduce stress and promote healing.


Dealing with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE) in dogs requires quick action and proper care. Though the exact cause isn’t always clear, HGE brings on sudden bloody diarrhea and can lead to dehydration fast.

Treatment mainly focuses on managing symptoms like fluid loss, shock, and potential infections. This involves hospital care, fluid therapy, medications, and special diets. With timely treatment, most dogs can bounce back from HGE.

It’s essential for pet owners to stay alert for any changes in their dog’s health and seek help from a vet when needed. By understanding the signs and following care instructions, pet owners can help their furry friends recover smoothly from HGE.

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Hello there! I'm Madhav Mantri, the person behind this PetSavvy Solution blog. I'm a digital marketer and a pet enthusiast too! I spend my time making sure everything here is interesting and helpful for you and your pets. I love sharing cool stuff about pets, from the latest trends to heartwarming stories and useful tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

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