“Severe Tummy Troubles” – Understanding Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS) in Dogs

May 2017 saw a surge in cases of this type at our hospital with six animals presenting with symptoms of this condition.

The signs are acute bloody malodorous diarrhea, sometimes associated with vomiting, and mentally dull patients with abdominal discomfort.  The onset can be very rapid and can be associated with severe fluid loss, which can lead to shock even before classic signs of dehydration are seen.

Typically, small breed dogs are affected most frequently; Miniature Schnauzers are reported to be particularly prone to it.  In our region, poodles or poodle crosses are represented more than the Schnauzers, but that may be reflective of local breed popularity.

AHDS used to be referred to as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). Unfortunately, despite a new name that better fits the description of the signs, we still don’t really understand what causes it.

In AHDS cases the gut becomes “leaky” and proteins can leak into … Continue reading

Our First Dialysis Patient: Bluebell

A few weeks ago Bluebell — a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever — became our first dialysis patient when she suffered from acute kidney injury due to leptospirosis and arrived at our hospital less than 24 hours after our new dialysis machine was installed and became operational.

 

Bluebell during treatment

 

What is leptospirosis?

It is a bacterial infection that can affect a dog’s blood, liver and kidneys. The bacteria that cause the illness are primarily carried by rats, but dogs, livestock, raccoons and skunks infected with the disease can pass it on. There are 250 strains (“serovars”) worldwide; approximately 10 are important for dogs, and rarely, for cats.

How common is it?

Veterinarians in BC did not often diagnose this disease in the past. However, we have seen increase in cases in the past decade. This may be related to an increase or spread of the organism itself, … Continue reading