Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis in Dogs
Eosinophilic gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammatory condition of the stomach and intestines. The name of the disease is derived from the fact that lining of the stomach and intestines is infiltrated with a specific type of white blood cell known as an eosinophil.
Eosinophilic gastroenteritis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is most commonly seen in dogs less than 5 years of age, though it can affect dogs of any age. German Shepherds, Rottweilers, soft-coated Wheaten Terriers, and Shar Peis may be predisposed. Symptoms include:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
- Immune-mediated – may be associated with food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease or with adverse drug reactions
- Systemic mastocytosis (a disorder involving mast cell infiltration of body tissues)
- Hypereosinophilic syndrome
- Eosinophilic leukemia
- Idiopathic eosinophilic gastroenteritis (cause unknown)
In order to confirm the diagnosis a veterinarian will typically examine your dog's feces for parasites. In many cases, deworming with a broad spectrum deworming product is used to help rule out parasites as well. Routine blood testing (including a complete blood cell count and blood chemistry profile) and urinalysis may also be performed to check for abnormalities in organ function and blood cells.
Imaging such as radiographs (X-rays) and abdominal ultrasonography may be used to examine the intestinal tract more thoroughly, while dietary trials may be performed to diagnose food allergies or hypersensitivities.
Definitive diagnosis is made by collecting samples of the stomach and intestines for biopsy via endoscopy or exploratory surgery. If your veterinarian suspects idiopathic eosinophilic gastroenteritis, diagnosis is attained by ruling out other causes.
If an underlying cause is discovered, it is important that it be treated first. Parasites, for instance, are treated with an appropriate dewormer. Food allergies and hypersensitivities are controlled with an appropriate diet.
In cases where protein is lost from the intestines, special fluid products known as colloids may be required. Dehydration, meanwhile, must be corrected with fluid therapy.
Steroids such as prednisone or prednisolone are frequently used in treatment of eosinophilic gastroenteritis in dogs. Other medications that may be necessary include anti-emetics to control vomiting and nausea.