The Maltipoo is a smaller mixed-breed dog that tends to be affectionate, fun-loving, and clever. They generally stay small, are sociable, and are a truly perfect fit for any household. Due to their size, paying close attention to their gut health is important. Any changes to their daily bowel movements, disposition, or physical characteristics should not be overlooked as they could be early warning signs of possible health issues like colitis.
Colitis and gut health are intertwined. Keeping your Maltipoo away from compromised environments and giving them a well-balanced diet can help prevent gut and bowel movement issues.
Maltipoo Colitis Explained
Simply put, colitis is the medical term for the inflammation of the large intestine, otherwise referred to as the colon. Colitis, also known as large bowel diarrhea, refers to diarrhea or loose stools associated with the dog’s large intestine. Due to the inflammation of the colon, it’s not able to absorb water as it normally would. The inability to absorb enough water results in decreasing the large intestine’s ability to store waste in the colon. The feces may also shed mucus and other substances from the lining of the intestine. Any feces the dog accumulates will pass more quickly, usually in small amounts. Dogs may strain themselves during defecation, resulting in tiny amounts of blood left in the stool.
Colitis can make it harder for the gut to function properly and remain at optimal health levels. As the feces quickly passes, it does not give the body time to fully absorb as many nutrients as it can. The reduction in water absorption throughout the large intestine can also cause dehydration and worsen the strain on the Maltipoo or other canine experiences as they suffer from diarrhea. Diarrhea can also cause the dog to experience redness, burning, and external discomfort.
The classifications of colitis depend on the type of inflammatory cell that penetrates the lining of the stomach or intestines. Various colitis conditions dogs can contract includes lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis which presents in dogs via episodic watery diarrhea and stomach pain. Eosinophilic colitis is an inflammatory cell that can irritate and damage the colon. Histiocytic Ulcerative colitis (HUC) causes inflammation of the bowels. HUC can cause ulcers to develop along the lining of the large intestine. These ulcers can bleed and cause pus to form around them.
Causes of Colitis in Maltipoos
Stress on the gut is the usual culprit for the development of diarrheal diseases like colitis. For instance, some of the common causes of colitis include infections related to ingested bacteria or parasitic organisms or fungal infections. Stress, trauma, allergic colitis, primary inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), medication reactions, pancreatitis, and cancer are some known causes.
These causes can be a result of your Maltipoo accidentally ingesting contaminated food, coming into close contact with other infected dogs or animals, having constant exposure to wet environmental conditions, by simply being exposed to a new substance or genetics.
If your Maltipoo already struggles with stress, it increases their risk of getting stress colitis. As the term states, the cycle of stress will only worsen when colitis develops. This type of colitis is the most common, which is why it’s so important to address any stress your dog might be feeling. Particularly before it causes other health problems for your canine.
Dogs can get anxious and experience stress just as much as humans can. The Maltipoo is a loyal and sociable dog, which means they can get separation anxiety or get stressed out from slight changes to their routine. Examples of stressful situations for canines include: boarding, moving to a new home, getting a new member of the household, changing their diet, introducing rigorous, unfamiliar exercises to them, or constantly leaving them alone. Stress colitis can be related to any of these types of triggers.
Allergies could be causing the colitis your Maltipoo is experiencing. Dogs can be allergic to certain foods in their diet and you may not even be aware of their allergy. If you notice sudden diarrhea, not too long after your canine has eaten, the dog’s food should be scrutinized first. They may also be allergic to external sources that can cause allergic colitis. An ingredient in the grooming or cleaning products you use may also be a suspect. For instance, certain detergents or fragrant room sprays can cause allergies. Your canine may not purposely ingest these chemicals, but their bedding or other surfaces in the home could have remnants of those products left on them.
Additionally, dogs can experience allergic reactions to medication. Be sure to contact the veterinarian if you suspect a medication allergy.
Bacterial and Parasitic Infections
Your Maltipoo can experience gut pain and large bowel diarrhea due to a bacterial or parasitic infection. These types of infections can cause sudden diarrhea or intermittent diarrhea. If you’re wondering how your loveable animal companion got such an infection when you work hard to keep them away from possible contaminants, it’s common for dogs. Sometimes they simply cannot resist sniffing and tasting things directly from the garbage can. If you have children in your household, it is not unheard of for kids to share food or feed something to the family pet without knowing they shouldn’t.
Salmonella is a common foodborne illness and is found in raw poultry, pork, vegetables, and fruits. Warmer temperatures increase the growth of salmonella on foods that are not properly stored. Dogs who get into foods that have been left out and contaminated with salmonella can experience the symptoms of colitis, diarrhea that may last for over a week.
Not all strains of E. coli can make a dog sick, however, if your animal companion ingests a high amount of the bacteria, it could result in colitis. E. coli is a foodborne illness that can be found in raw beef, raw dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also present in the feces of E. coli infected animals.
Clostridium is a bacteria that usually doesn’t cause major issues in dogs. These bacterial organisms cannot survive for long in oxygen. It’s a common foodborne illness and is often found in rotting vegetables and raw meats. An infection can happen when the bacteria reach abnormally high levels. This bacteria can live in the canine’s large intestine and cause gut problems when they are given a chance to propagate.
Giardia is a single-celled parasitic organism that lives in the intestines. It is found in feces and can spread to areas feces contaminates. For example, when your pet drinks water, eats grass, or chews on a stick that has been contaminated with giardia, it can cause colitis. This internal parasite stops the dog’s intestines from absorbing enough nutrients, electrolytes, and water. The most common symptom of Giardia is diarrhea and can cause extreme illness in puppies, immuno-compromised canines, and elderly dogs.
Cryptosporidium, also referred to as crypto, is a parasitic organism that can infect dogs and other animals. This parasite is not visible without a microscope and can live outside of a canine’s body for a long time. The parasite’s outer shell provides ample protection. Crypto can also withstand strong disinfectants, such as chlorine. This microscopic organism is waterborne, meaning it can spread in drinking water, wells, and swimming pools. The parasite is so small that modern filtration methods will not work to remove it. This is one reason crypto is so difficult to detect. This parasitic infection causes diarrhea and typically spreads from feces infected with it, which is why recreational waters may increase the risk of your Maltipoo or other pets catching it.
Whipworms are common intestinal parasites that dogs can acquire. Since these parasitic worms pass in the stool, anywhere in the environment that infected feces lay is a potential hot spot. Whipworms can grow approximately a quarter of an inch long and are shaped like the name suggests. The wider anterior end of the worm attaches itself to the mucosa lining within the cecum, which is the area of the digestive tract where the small and large intestines meet. Whipworms can cause the large bowel of dogs to become inflamed or cause colitis. It can also be difficult to detect when your canine is asymptomatic.
Weight loss can occur as diarrhea worsens. The stool will sometimes be bloody, which should be concerning. Puppies and smaller breed dogs, like the Maltipoo, are at risk of developing major health problems if the worm burden becomes overwhelming.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a disorder that affects the gastrointestinal organs. Signs that your Maltipoo suffers from this disorder are they periodically vomit, have occasional diarrhea, or lose weight. If your dog experiences episodes of vomiting, it may indicate the inflammation in their digestive system is affecting their stomachs. When the inflammation or chronic irritation involves the dog’s intestines, they can suffer from chronic diarrhea. Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is a long-term gut health issue with common symptoms, such as different forms of colitis.
At times, cancer can be the cause of your Maltipoo’s colitis. If changing your dog’s diet and stress levels isn’t helping, a trip to the vet is the next step. Unfortunately, colon cancer can occur generally in elderly canines. The veterinarian will be able to run tests and collect stool samples to determine cancer.
How Colitis Can Affect Your Maltipoo
Living with colitis can place strain on your Maltipoo, particularly their large intestine. If they don’t receive relief, chronic diarrhea will lead to dehydration, weight loss, and constant stomach pain. The stress from these symptoms on your household pet can impact their quality of life.
One of the first treatment methods for stress-related colitis is effective ways of keeping them calm. Including a calming dog treat in their regular diet could help decrease their stress and keep them relaxed.
Unfortunately, protecting your Maltipoo from every stressful situation is impossible and impractical. If your dog experiences separation anxiety or gets stressed from unexpected changes to their environment, stress colitis could be the result. That doesn’t mean your Maltipoo won’t be happy the majority of the time. Things can happen that are out of your control, and no matter how stressed you may feel, just keep in mind your Maltipoo can get stressed too. Staying calm and focusing on ways to reduce overall stress will make a difference in your dog’s happiness, even when they experience bouts of stress-related colitis.
Life Expectancy of a Maltipoo With Colitis
Maltipoos have an average lifespan of between ten and fifteen years. Even if they are living with colitis, there is no reason they can’t live a long life. It all depends on how they respond to treatment for colitis. Every dog is different, which means the best treatment for their colitis should depend on what the root cause is.
Keeping your Maltipoo and other household pets stress-free will have a positive impact on their quality of life. Colitis, no matter the cause, will put your friendly canine in some distress. They can live a full life, even if they experience chronic or occasional diarrhea. Incorporating more fiber-rich meals and keeping them hydrated is important for maintaining proper gut function and keeping their colon healthy.
If the diarrheal condition is related to their weight, focusing on weight management will help. Excess weight in dogs can cause mild to serious health conditions and may shorten their lifespan. Simple changes to their physical routine and small adjustments to their diet are steps in the right direction. Fluctuating weight can cause stress for your pets, especially a Maltipoo. Since they are a smaller breed dog, keeping their weight at controllable levels will prolong their life expectancy, even if they suffer from some form of colitis.
Signs Your Maltipoo Might Have Colitis
Diarrhea is not uncommon in dogs and other household pets. However, if it becomes an ongoing issue, failing to address the underlying cause will only worsen your dog’s overall health. Diarrhea can cause severe hydration and a dehydrated dog will have a harder time combating the internal health issues they might be experiencing. Not to mention it can decrease the effectiveness of their immune system. A weakened immune system will lead to your dog getting sick more often.
If your Maltipoo demonstrates a sense of urgency every time they need to relieve themselves or if you notice their frequent need to defecate, these are obvious signs of diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts longer than a few days, this should raise some red flags. Other signs of colitis could be stools that pass normally but end up finishing loose. Another symptom of colitis is if the feces is gooey or slimy instead of just watery.
Your Maltipoo may also have increased gas, more than they normally did. Their feces may have traces of either mucus-like liquid or blood, sometimes both are present. Symptoms for colitis can be frustrating to spot because instead of diarrhea, your canine may become constipated. This can cause abdominal discomfort and painful blockages.
How to Care For and Treat Your Maltipoo For Colitis
Treatment for colitis depends on how long your adorable canine experiences diarrhea. There are three main things to consider, acute diarrhea, meaning it began suddenly. If diarrhea continues for several weeks or longer, this is referred to as chronic. If it only occurs periodically as in recurring time after time, this is known as episodic.
Acute colitis can be caused by stressors like sudden changes in lifestyle, changes to the environment, moving, or even severe weather. The suddenness of it could also be due to the dog eating something they normally wouldn’t, like eating too many treats or eating directly from a garbage can.
Chronic or episodic colitis may mean a parasite has settled in the dog’s intestines, or they have a viral or bacterial infection. Prevent your pooch from ingesting parasites by ensuring they don’t eat from germ-infested areas. Keep them from eating grass, dirt, or plants which can also cause digestion issues.
Taking preventative measures against colitis, keeping them hydrated, and making sure they have a well-balanced diet high in fiber will go a long way to maintaining the overall health of your Maltipoo. The gut contains healthy microbes known as probiotics and when your dog is stressed, an imbalance can happen between the healthy gut bacteria (probiotics) and the disease-causing bacteria. This stress can increase the chances of ingested foodborne bacteria or parasitic organisms proliferating in the gut. Consider also giving your dog a probiotic supplement.
Whipworm eggs thrive in moist areas. To prevent a possible whipworm infection in your Maltipoo, it’s important to maintain a clean, moist-free living environment.
Avoiding foodborne bacteria means keeping a close watch on what your dog eats. To avoid waterborne illnesses, such as cryptosporidium, keep your Maltipoo from drinking, playing, or swimming in crypto-contaminated water. If you aren’t sure whether the water is contaminated with any dangerous bacteria or parasites, simply keep your doggo away from it. It’s better to be safe than to risk your canine getting colitis.
Happy Life: How to Help Your Maltipoo Live a Fulfilling Life With Colitis
Stress is the most common cause of colitis, which means you need to find ways to decrease stress and calm your Maltipoo through diet and exercise. Every dog loves getting treats. Introduce your pooch to a delicious calming snack that can help keep them relaxed and reduce their stress. A trip to the park or a walk around the block is a great way to reduce stress through exercise.
Keeping them stress-free or finding effective stress-relieving treatments will help your Maltipoo live a happy, fulfilling life despite having maladies like colitis.