Colitis is classified based on the predominant cell types present in the intestinal lining. It can be classified as eosinophilic, histiocytic, plasmacytic-lymphocytic, and granulomatous. The condition has been considered by many as a genetic defect particularly with the plasmacytic-lymphocytic and histiocytic forms. Other cases of colitis are idiopathic in nature, thus the causes cannot be pinpointed or explained. In Bulldogs, colitis may arise as a result of any of the following:
· Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites (particularly whipworms)
· Cancer of the colon
· Dietary intolerance
· Medications including antibiotics
· Dietary indiscretion
Diarrhea is the most common symptom of colitis. Oftentimes, the diarrhea may be bloody or contain mucus. The Bulldog may also suffer from abdominal pain, flatulence, painful defecation, straining and prolonged squatting. Dehydration is often present as a result of the diarrhea. Dogs suffering from colitis are also lethargic and may pass small stools. The straining and prolonged squatting coupled with painful defecation can be mistaken for constipation.
There are many types of colitis according to the duration. It can be chronic, acute or chronically episodic. Chronic colitis is often constant while an acute one can suddenly occur. Chronically episodic means Colitis often come and go.
The highly variable nature of colitis makes it easy to be confused with other conditions of the digestive tract. Thus there is a need to distinguish it from other diseases that may share common manifestations and determine the ultimate cause of the problem.
Bulldogs suffering from severe diarrhea need to undergo several diagnostic tests including a thorough physical examination, complete blood count, fecal examination, and x-rays. The first line of treatment is aimed at correcting the fluid-electrolyte imbalances brought about the diarrhea. If symptoms fail to subside even though symptomatic treatment has been given, your vet may recommend specific blood tests, an ultrasound, and colonoscopy to better examine closely the intestinal lining and obtain a tissue sample for biopsy.
The line of treatment is highly dependent on the nature of the disease and the underlying cause. If parasites are the cause of the colitis, a parasiticide is given or if colitis has been linked to a Bulldog’s diet, a dietary change coupled with antibiotics may help correct the disease. A high-fiber diet has been observed to help alleviate the symptoms.
However when the cause is due to the abnormality of the immune system wherein the intestinal lining is prone to developing an inflammatory process, prednisone and similar drugs is usually indicated. This condition usually occurs with histiocytic colitis and plasmocytic-lymphocytic colitis.
Bulldogs that are prone to developing colitis are often prescribed special diets to prevent further episodes. If the cause is genetic in nature, a dog suffering from the condition should never be allowed to breed.