Common Health Problems affecting Dogs and Cats

Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS

WWW HolisticPetHealth

|Home | Introduction |Principles of Natural Health Care |Development of disease |Pet Health Management
Common Pet Health Problems
| FAQ | Factsheets | Contact



Colitis is inflammation of the colon. Sudden colitis can be induced by stress and excitement. However, there are many factors which may cause colitis: dietary hypersensitivity, infection with parasites, viruses and bacteria.

In acute colitis, the problem comes and goes, however if the colitis lasts more than 3 weeks it is said to be chronic.

Typical symptoms

*Diarrhoea (different from true diarrhoea, which is very watery)
Blood in the stool
Mucus covered stools
Stool often starts normal then throughout the day it becomes loose
Animal may strain to defecate
Animal may show urgency to defecate
Animal may want to defecate more frequently

The longer the stool remains in the colon, the more water is absorbed from it. However, due to inflammation of the colon there is difficulty in moving the stool along the colon and therefore a problem absorbing water from the stools. This means they pass out the animal quickly and with a high water content. The blood comes from damage to the protective lining of the colon.

Fibre is suggested because a common belief is that colitis is caused by a lack of fibre or 'bulk' in the diet. However, this problem is often seen in low quality foods, which produce a lot of 'bulk' because they are difficult to digest (e.g. many foods contain wheat, Soya or dairy products, these are less easily digested than other ingredients).

An animal suffering from colitis should be fed small amounts of a highly digestible, low fat, high quality diet. This should produce smaller stools, which are easier for the animal to pass.

Colitis may also be caused by dietary intolerance or allergies. Blood and skin tests are not a reliable way for testing food allergies, the best way is to use an elimination diet.

Intolerances can result from chemical preservatives/flavourings or colourings in the food, foods high in fat or high in protein and certain types of protein in the food.


Common pet health problems
John Burns Pet Health Management Programme




John Burns can be contacted at 99 Ferry Road, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA17 5EJ -
Tel 01554 890482 | Fax 01554 891476 | email nutritional advice

©2006 John Burns. No part of this website can be reproduced in any form without the express permission of John Burns BVMS Lic Ac.MRCVS - Legal notice