What tests could determine the cause of inflamed bowels and inflamed intestines in dogs?

Original Question: My dog has a very inflamed bowl/intestines and our vet says it’s colitis. Blood work all okay. Fecal test done 1.5 months ago shows no viruses. Tried antibiotics, metronidazole even prednisone for the last 2 weeks with marginal to no discernable improvement. Appetite diminishing everyday and has lost a lot of weight but still managing to drink. He as a lot of pain when he feels sensation for a bowl movement which is now almost every 1-3 hours. What else can we try to remedy this issue? At wits end and exhausted. - Fernando

What tests could determine the cause of inflamed bowels and inflamed intestines in dogs? Dec 23, 2018

Hi Fernando,

Thanks for your question. Sorry to hear you’re dealing with this.

It sounds like you have tried treatments but have not determined the cause. It is so important that a clear diagnosis is made and not just an assumptive one. It can be costly but implementing a treatment based on limited information both financially and emotionally.

I would speak to your veterinarian about testing that would investigate the cause. There are a few I would consider.

  • Bloodwork and urine testing to make sure there are no underlying conditions. This test can often suggest metabolic abnormalities, organ impairment, infectious reactions among many others. It would also assess your dog’s current state in response to this problem and indicate issues such as dehydration or electrolyte deficiencies, among other issues.
  • Parasite testing but typically parasites don’t often cause such lengthy and significant clinical symptoms, but it should still be considered as a possibility.
  • X-rays to determine if there are any structural lesions within the abdomen or related to the organs.
  • A really great test that is not often performed but has been extremely valuable to me in many cases is a fecal culture. This test will grow and identify particularly concerning or resistant bacteria that may be present in the gastrointestinal system. I have had cases where this information completely confirmed the cause and indicated a unique treatment strategy.
  • An intestinal biopsy would be a diagnostic that would be more significant in cost and effort but it has the potential to reveal a highly specific and accurate diagnosis.

These are options you could speak to your veterinarian about. I recommend you have your veterinarian judge the value of these tests since they would have a greater sense of their worth given the background knowledge of the case. I would follow their recommendation, not mine.

I think it’s time to stop guessing and achieve a diagnosis.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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What tests could determine the cause inflamed bowels and inflamed intestines in dogs?
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What tests could determine the cause inflamed bowels and inflamed intestines in dogs?
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It sounds like you have tried treatments but have not determined the cause. It is so important that a clear diagnosis is made and not just an assumptive one. It can be costly but implementing a treatment based on limited information can be costly both financially and emotionally.
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