When your dog is a member of your family, you want to give them the best care possible. Like humans, your four-legged friend can have illnesses and injuries that lead to inflammation in dogs.
If your pet parent senses are tingling that something may be wrong with your dog, it could be a good idea to do some research to see if inflammation could be the cause of their suffering.
Because there are both natural and pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories treatments available.
What Is Inflammation in Dogs?
Your dog has a body very similar to your own. Like you, your dog may get temporary or chronic inflammation from diseases or injuries.
This response is a normal part of your dog’s immune system reaction to injury or damage.
In fact, if your dog did not have inflammation, it would not be able to heal. While it can be good for healing, sometimes, it becomes too much of a good thing.
Chronic inflammation becomes a problem that can lead to more serious issues.
One clue that your dog has inflammation is if the vet uses a word that ends in “-itis.”
This ending literally means inflammation. The location of the swelling gives the condition the first part of its name.
For example, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Gastritis refers to swelling in the stomach. Colitis is an inflammation located in the colon.
How Can You Tell if Your Dog Has Inflammation?
As you’ve already seen, there are many causes of inflammation in dogs.
If your pet seems to have any of the following symptoms, schedule a vet visit to determine the cause:
- Loss of appetite
- Constant scratching of the skin
- Rubbing the face
- Reduced mobility
- Behavior changes
- Any other signs that concern you
If left untreated, chronic inflammation can harm your dog’s health. Conditions caused by chronic inflammation include:
- Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Because you love your dog, you should educate yourself on the common causes of inflammation in your pet and learn how to correct them.
7 Common Diseases and Conditions Caused by Inflammation in Dogs
Several conditions can lead to inflammation in your pet. Many of these diseases have similar symptoms.
The best way to find out what problem your dog has is to take them to the vet. With testing and an exam, your vet can diagnose your dog and offer treatment options.
Gastritis refers to an inflamed stomach. Your dog may vomit, have diarrhea, or black stools.
Chronic gastritis is when these symptoms last for at least two weeks. Causes for chronic inflammation in the stomach include:
- Your dog ate something that disagreed with it.
- It had a reaction to medication.
- It has an infection.
- It has a disease affecting the metabolism.
Due to gastritis affecting your dog’s weight and will reduce the ability to get the nutrients they need, it is best to take your pet to the vet for treatment.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition where inflammation strikes the intestines or stomach.
Sometimes, the inflammation only occurs in one place, but it can flare up to affect the whole digestive system.
Veterinarians don’t agree on the causes of IBD, but some possibilities include:
- Food allergies
- An overworking immune system
Like gastritis, IBD can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes, the diarrhea has blood in it.
Over time, because your dog cannot absorb its food properly, it may lose weight or seem tired.
Encephalitis means inflammation of the brain. The swelling could also spread to the spinal cord or the membrane around the brain and spinal cord called the meninges.
These problems are called myelitis and meningitis, respectively.
Because encephalitis affects the brain, your dog will have serious symptoms that may also seem very scary.
Common signs of encephalitis include:
- High fever
- Loss of coordination
- Paralysis in the face
- Changes in behavior
- Not responding normally
- Unusual pupil sizes
Encephalitis can develop very quickly once symptoms start. Get your pup to an emergency vet clinic for treatment.
As frightening as this condition is, there are a number of specific things that you can watch out for that cause it.
Possible causes include infections, an immune system attack, vaccine complications, or breed type.
Some breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, German short-hair pointers, and Maltese have a higher chance of developing this condition than other types.
Rarely, encephalitis happens, and vets never find out the reason.
Even if you aren’t sure if your dog has encephalitis, if it has a fever and seizures, take them to a vet clinic immediately.
With emergency care and treatment of the cause, your dog can recover from this.
Colitis happens when your dog has inflammation only in the large intestine, also known as the colon.
This section of the digestive system is where your dog should absorb water from its stool. If the colon has swelling or irritation, it reduces the amount of water.
Dogs with colitis often strain when pooping. Causing them to go more frequently and produce soft or liquid stools.
Most dogs with this condition don’t vomit or lose weight, as those with IBD or gastritis do.
The main cause of colitis in dogs is stress, but it could also happen from:
- An infection
- Certain types of IBD
The good news is that this condition corrects itself with proper treatment. Most dogs recover well with veterinary treatment.
Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA)
If you ever see the term “immune-mediated” it means that the immune system’s normal fight against illness has gone out of control.
Instead of treating an infection, the immune system starts to attack healthy parts of the body.
For immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA) the immune system targets healthy joints. This condition resembles rheumatoid arthritis in people.
For IMPA, vets classify its causes into four categories based on where the immune system originally responded.
- Type I Idiopathic (unknown cause)
- Type II Non-joint infection
- Type III Infection in the digestive system
- Type IV Cancer
If your dog is showing signs of pain in its joints, you need to have a vet give them a checkup.
During the exam, the vet will determine if your pet has pain coming from the joints or from nearby muscles, nerves, or tissues.
Pain in the joints without infection and a recent sickness somewhere else in the body are signs your vet looks for to diagnose your dog with IMPA.
Because the cause of this type of arthritis is the immune system, your dog may need medicine to slow down its immune response.
Pain killers can also ease your pet’s joint discomfort. Talk to your vet about the best options for this long-term inflammatory condition.
Pododermatitis refers to an inflammation on the bottoms of the feet. The paws may have blisters, scabs, or experience itching.
This condition makes it challenging for your pet to walk. You may also notice your dog rubbing or nibbling at its feet to try to ease its pain. Causes for this condition may include:
- Allergies to walking surfaces
- An attack from the dog’s immune system
The right treatment can get your pet back on its feet without pain, though, so make a vet appointment as soon as possible.
Mange is a type of skin disease that comes from mites. Most dogs have one of two types of mange – scabies or red mange. Different types of mites cause each of these conditions.
Scabies comes from contacting another dog with the mites that cause it. After 10 days to eight weeks, your dog will show symptoms, which include:
- Hair loss
- Skin redness
- Yellow crusts
Your dog can pass scabies onto you or your family. If you get it, though, you won’t pass it to other people.
Treat your dog as soon as possible to keep yourself from the itchiness of scabies.
Demodex or red mange is the other major type of mange. Luckily, your dog cannot give this mange to you.
Most of the time, a dog gets this type of mange from its mother as a puppy. Throughout its life, its immune system fights of the mange.
When your dog’s immune system weakens from medications or diseases like cancer, the demodex can flare up. Sometimes, your dog may have a patch of it that gets better on its own.
Signs of demodex include hair loss where the mange affects the dog and scaly, red skin.
Your vet can recommend treatments to kill the mites and help heal your dog’s skin and provide relief from the itching.
If you have picked up scabies from your dog, simply talk to your doctor about how to heal it.
Treatment for Canine Inflammation
The first step in treating inflammation in your dog is to get your pet to the vet to find the cause.
Anti-inflammatory treatments are just as varied as the causes of this problem. Talking with your vet can make identifying treatment options easier.
If your dog seems to be in pain, don’t fear a trip to the vet for a diagnosis. Most inflammation causes have successful treatment options from a natural cure or a NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) drugs.
There is no need for your best buddy to suffer from these painful conditions.
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