Does your animal salivate unusually, vomit, have diarrhea or constipation? If these symptoms (individually or together) persist over a period of time, it could indicate something: a gastrointestinal disease in your dog or cat. Excessive or unusual salivation is a sign of nausea. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, on the other hand, usually give a very clear picture. In addition, your animal often stops eating and drinking. Increased body temperature and reduced general behavior can also occur.
Gastrointestinal diseases in dogs and cats are not uncommon and - fortunately - mostly harmless. This means that an otherwise healthy animal is not life-threatening if the disease is recognized and treated. The greatest dangers of gastrointestinal diseases in dogs and cats are that vomiting and diarrhea lead to dehydration. For example, important electrolytes, minerals and proteins are lost and the animal body becomes imbalanced. If your animal now also refuses to drink water, this can quickly lead to dehydration (so-called dehydration), which causes circulatory problems and can even lead to shock, unconsciousness or even death.
Various causes of gastrointestinal disease
There are many possible causes of gastrointestinal diseases in dogs and cats (but also other animals). Different animal species have different, often specialized, digestive processes. Causes of gastrointestinal problems can be found anywhere, from the composition of the feed (e.g. too little fibre, wrong and too much fat) to feed intolerance or allergies. Viruses are also very often the trigger. So-called endoparasites (roundworms and hookworms, giardia, coccidia) are often the cause of vomiting and/or diarrhea, especially in young animals. Poisoning or swallowed objects can also be counted among the possible causes. You should consult a veterinarian immediately, especially in the event of poisoning and/or swallowed foreign objects. In both cases, your animal can be in acute danger of death and the foreign bodies must be removed or the poisoning treated.
Foreign bodies are, for example, plastic or metal parts, toys or foils. Dogs and cats are often poisoned by rat poison or antifreeze.
Do I need veterinary help for gastrointestinal diseases in my animal?
As already mentioned, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately if poisoning or the ingestion of foreign bodies is suspected. However, veterinary help should also be sought if the dog continues to refuse to drink water or if it vomits water frequently. The same applies to severely reduced general behavior, violent vomiting, severe diarrhea or blood in the stool. Veterinarians can usually identify the cause of the gastrointestinal problems relatively quickly and give your pet appropriate help. In addition to light food, this often also includes medication. Although some drugs can be absolutely harmless or even indispensable, the administration of drugs can lead to undesirable consequences. In addition to well-known side effects, mainly psychological consequences.
The fear and its consequences
We humans tend to develop fears. Especially when something is “close to our hearts”. Like our beloved four-legged friends, for example. We worry and we may become overly cautious, even when we really don't want to. Fears put us and our organism in a state of constant stress. This stress also affects our animals and makes them restless. The vicious circle that could result from this harms us as well as our animals.
For example, we notice renewed diarrhea in our dog or cat after a gastrointestinal disease has been treated. Fear and stress arise in us and we also worry our animal. We may remember the bad condition of our animal during the last illness. This could result in the administration of anti-diarrhoeal medication. Even if the diarrhea didn't need any treatment at all. These medications for diarrhea do not treat the cause, only the symptom. Intestinal activity is curbed or even stopped. Frequent consequences are constipation, which is then treated with laxatives due to the fear in us. As a result, the intestinal flora of the animal is permanently thrown out of balance, which has been proven to lead to inflammatory - sometimes chronic - symptoms.
Connection between the digestive system and the endocannabinoid system
Already in the 1990s it was found out that the so-called endocannabinoid system is located in the human and animal body. This is provided with numerous receptors throughout the body. The task of these receptors is to interact with endogenous cannabinoids. Recent research has also found that the stomach, intestines, yes, the entire digestive system has a very strong connection to the endocannabinoid system. Among other things, this includes the feeling of hunger and the intestinal flora. From this it can be concluded, even without scientific training, that in gastrointestinal diseases the stimulation of the endocannabinoid system by
Phytocannabinoids (which includes CBD) can play a role. The use of products with CBD for dogs, cats and other animals should always be adjusted to the weight of the animal. The easiest way is to use our CBD calculator. According to customer reports, the low dosage is often the best.
In conclusion, gastrointestinal diseases in dogs and cats should not be taken lightly. If symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation persist, a visit to the veterinarian is always advisable. We expressly do not advise against such a visit, nor against the administration of medication for the acute treatment of symptoms! What experiences have you had with gastrointestinal diseases with your animal and what helped? Let us and other pet owners share your experiences in the comments!