Leaky gut in dogs occurs when the semi-permeable lining of the small intestine is damaged. This inner wall allows nutrients to pass into the bloodstream while keeping toxins, undigested foods, and other unwanted substances inside the small intestine. In the case of intestinal hyperpermeability, also known as leaky gut syndrome, the wall becomes too porous, allowing all these things to pass into the bloodstream. 2222
Symptoms of leaky gut in dogs
The symptoms of leaky gut vary depending on the cause, age, and health of your dog. Some of the most common ones are:
- Gas and bloating
- Abdominal pain
- Bad breath
- Bladder infections
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Gum infection
- Immune system disorders
- Respiratory diseases
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal cancer
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Causes of the leaky gut syndrome in dogs
Experts claim that the most common cause of leaky gut syndrome is the excessive use of antibiotics. However, there are a few others like:
- Preservatives and processed foods
Diagnosis of the leaky gut syndrome in dogs
The first step the veterinarian will do is to check your dog’s medical history, especially the medications given at any time (antibiotics, NSAIDs, corticosteroids). Other information like the symptoms you have noticed and the kind of foods you feed your dog is also important to mention.
Then the vet will perform a comprehensive physical examination (body weight, blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels, breath sounds, and abdominal palpations). Besides, he will examine the urine and stool samples to evaluate bacterial and fungal cultures. A liver enzyme panel can also be helpful as it shows any imbalances in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Other tests to diagnose the leaky gut include a complete blood count, blood glucose, biochemical profile, arterial blood gas (ABG), packed cell volume (PCV), and blood urea nitrogen (BUN).
Xrays and ultrasounds might also be needed to check for any underlying diseases and provide additional information. The vet may also consider an MRI and a CT scan to determine if there are any blockages or abnormalities.
The diagnosis procedure may include various tests as mentioned above because it is quite hard to get a conclusive diagnosis from them. However, these examinations will help eliminate other illnesses and conditions.
Treatment of leaky gut syndrome in dogs
The treatment will vary depending on the cause, damage and health of the dog. The three major steps in the treatment process are stabilization, medication, and observation.
This step is usually aimed at balancing the body fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. If your dog has vomiting or diarrhea, the vet will most likely start an intravenous line, and if there are any respiratory conditions, he will also initiate the oxygen therapy.
The vet will prescribe medications based on the symptoms; mainly, enzyme supplements are very common to help restore the bacterial balance in the intestinal tract. In case of infection, the vet might prescribe necessary antibiotics. Diet alterations might also be required to support the digestive system to heal and prevent the syndrome from recurring.
As long as there isn’t any severe complication resulting from the leaky gut syndrome, you can observe your dog from home.
Recovery from the leaky gut syndrome in dogs
Consistency is critical when it comes to the treatment and the prevention of any recurrence. The diet plays a significant role as well, make sure your dog has light, balanced and nutritious meals and avoid processed food as much as possible. Stick to the vet’s guidelines, and your dog should recover completely with no lasting complications.