HGE in Dogs Needs Veterinary Treatment

Thankfully, most dogs who receive prompt veterinary treatment make a full recovery; otherwise, the condition could worsen significantly and ultimately cause death.

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HGE is a sudden onset of bloody diarrhea and vomiting in small breed dogs that, without prompt medical care, may result in dehydration and shock that ultimately lead to their deaths.



HGE can be fatal if it goes undetected and untreated promptly, and veterinarians often see more cases around holidays when people give pets extra treats and their canines raid garbage bins and consume whatever remains. Small breed dogs aged five years or younger and those under five are particularly prone to this condition.

A veterinarian should conduct a comprehensive clinical exam and obtain the history of sudden symptoms, particularly bloody diarrhea. He or she may request tests such as complete blood count, biochemistry, urinalysis, radiography and endoscopy of the gastrointestinal tract to rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms such as ulcers, foreign bodies, infectious disease or coagulation disorders.

Veterinarians will likely perform a diagnosis by exclusion, since other diseases with similar signs, like canine parvovirus (CPV), can also cause diarrheal symptoms in dogs. Intravenous fluid therapy must be given aggressively in order to prevent life-threatening dehydration and hypovolemic shock resulting from excessive blood loss due to severe diarrheal illness.


HGE is a serious condition requiring immediate veterinary attention. Without treatment, dogs develop severe dehydration and could potentially go into shock from blood and fluid loss.

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can result in bloody diarrhea that is either bright red (fresh blood) or brownish-red from digested blood, with associated nausea and vomiting, abdominal discomfort and decreased appetite in dogs affected.

IV fluid therapy is an integral component of HGE treatment. Your veterinarian will administer large volumes of intravenous fluid through an intravenous catheter to rehydrate the dog and treat any electrolyte imbalances caused by his fluid loss.

Antibiotics will also be prescribed to combat an possible Clostridium perfringens infection and to stop any translocation of bacteria, along with stomach upset relieving measures. Patients must remain hospitalized for at least 24 hours to ensure effective treatment – their PCV, electrolyte levels and protein levels will all be carefully monitored during this time.


HGE occurs when intestinal mucosal permeability becomes drastically altered due to hypersensitivity to Clostridium perfringens and its enterotoxins, leading to fluid, proteins and blood leaking into the intestines where they are expelled in profuse, foul diarrhea characterized by white foamy diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and pale gums as a telltale sign of dehydration. Symptoms typically include white foamy diarrhea; abdominal pain; fever; pale gums as a telltale sign that dehydration occurs; symptoms include white foamy diarrhea; abdominal pain; fever; pale gums; pale gums as telltale signs that dehydration has set in.

Intervention by a veterinarian is critical when treating this severe illness in dogs. Without prompt veterinary attention, their health could rapidly deteriorate into life-threatening dehydration and shock due to protein and fluid loss. Veterinarians will typically administer intravenous fluid therapy to rehydrate and replenish lost proteins, while also prescribing antibiotics to prevent infections. They’ll monitor PCV, electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium and chloride) to make sure your pup’s health improves over time. HGE can develop into disseminated intravascular coagulation, a serious blood clotting condition in which blood thickens and slows its flow through blood vessels, and eventually leads to death. You can help protect your pup by feeding high-quality commercial diet, taking steps against gut parasites, and keeping stress levels at a minimum.


Dogs with HGE lose an excessive amount of water. Their electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and chloride levels drop. Their total proteins usually decrease as well, although fever may still occur and lab tests don’t reveal an abnormally high white blood cell count or low hematocrit.

Under fluid therapy, your vet will monitor PCV (plasma clotting volume) and electrolyte levels in your dog, administer antibiotics such as ampicillin or metronidazole as well as anti-nausea medications as needed.

Once the dog is released from hospital, they will need to be monitored carefully over several days in order to ensure a full recovery. In particular, any foods or treats associated with humans or garbage should be kept away until diarrhea has stopped – this illness is very serious but most dogs recover within a few days with proper care from it – giving their owners years of joyous companionship!