Ask Seth: Diverticulitis in Dogs

My dog has recently been diagnosed with diverticulitis and seems to be uncomfortable. What is diverticulitis and what can I do to help prevent this from occurring?

Diverticulitis in dogs is a chronic medical condition that consists of the infection and the rupture of the diverticula (small pouches) located in the dog’s large intestine. When the fecal matter cannot be eliminated, it stays in the colon causing sore spots, which develop into pockets. These can easily get infected and rupture. Diverticulitis causes pain and discomfort that varies in severity. Left untreated, diverticulitis can cause serious medical conditions to your dog, such as infections, bleeding, bowel perforations or intestinal blockage. Diverticulitis symptoms include pain in the left side of the abdomen, cramps, bloating, spasms, diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Treatment starts with antibiotics to fight the infection and dietary changes.  Usually the food will be changed to liquid or wet foods that are rich in fibers and easily digestible.  Stay away from seeds and other types of food that can get caught in these little pockets in the intestines.  If pain is severe, pain relief medications may be added.  In more serious cases, surgery may be performed to resection of the affected area of the intestines.  Your veterinarian may suggest seeing a specialist to assist in providing the best veterinary care for your dog.

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