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Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) is an acute and potentially fatal disease of dogs. This condition can be extremely dangerous. HGE is debilitating and life threatening, if it is treated early and aggressively, most dogs have a good chance of recovery.

HGE is an acute condition of dogs characterised by the sudden onset of severe bloody vomiting and explosive bloody diarrhoea. Large amounts of fresh blood are passed in the vomit and diarrhoea, leaving your dog depressed and reluctant to eat. As the condition progresses, the dogĀ  can quickly go into a state of circulatory collapse, the veins will collapse due to dehydration and loss of fluid from the intestinal tract. If the disease is untreated, death will come from dehydration, hypothermia and anaphylactic shock.

The actual cause of Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is unknown.

If your dog is vomiting blood or producing bloody diarrhoea, it should be taken to a vet at once. Though the symptoms of HGE are very distinctive, other diseases that cause similar symptoms must be ruled out (e.g. ulcers, viral infections, bacterial infections, parasites, poisoning, cancer, etc.).

After taking a complete medical history and performing a thorough examination, additional tests may be required. Routine blood tests are necessary to calculate the extent of blood loss and to check for any other sources of illness. Other possible tests are faecal tests for bacteria and parasites.

What is the treatment for HGE?

If your vet suspects that your pet has HGE, it should be hospitalised and treated aggressively. Fluid therapy is the mainstay of treatment. IV fluids,

Antibiotics are normally prescribed. Dogs should receive nothing to eat or drink during the acute stage of the disease. As they recover, they should be started on a bland, easily digestible diet for at least a week before resuming their normal diet.

What is the expected outcome of the disease?

HGE normally lasts about 2-3 days. The majority of dogs recover with no complications if they are treated early on in the disease. Dogs that are not treated have a poor prognosis for recovery. Owners should always be aware that a small percentage of dogs with HGE will suffer relapses.