Because so many people have clicked on my HGE article, I thought it might be a good idea to write another article about it.
As I stated in my earlier article, my Parsons Russell Terrier had it twice. Once when he was young which is when it usually manifests itself in dogs, and another time when he was about 8 years old.
What is critical to understand about this illness, is that it can kill a dog in 24 hours and must be treated by a veterinarian. While it is typically found in small dogs such as Toy Poodles and Miniature Schnauzers, it can attack any dog.
- Sudden vomiting
- Bloody diarrhea
- Low blood volume
- Severe concentrated blood
- Hypovolemic Shock
- Very lethargic
If your dog gets HGE, you will see three critical signs, sudden vomiting, bloody diarrhea and your dog will be very lethargic. Very small dogs cannot survive long with these symptoms.
The exact cause is unknown. However, it is suspected that an abnormal reaction to bacteria or a reaction to toxins from the bacteria is one cause of HGE. Another possibility is an extreme reaction to food. This is one reason why it is very important to only feed your dog the highest quality of food. I strongly suggest checking one of the many sites that analyze pet food. Most pet food is not safe or good for your dog. Nothing that you buy at a discount store or supermarket is the high quality that you want.
Another cause is Colostridium perfringens which is another type of bacteria. This has been found in quite a few dogs who have gotten HGE.
The articles that I have researched mention that HGE appears to be similar to canine parvovirus (CPV), making it critical that you take your dog to a veterinarian at the first signs of vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is up to date on his shots it is not likely to be CPV. There are other illnesses that have similar signs as well which is why an immediate veterinary visit is necessary.
When my dog got it again, he started the symptoms while we were asleep. When my husband woke up early, Riley was very sick. Not knowing when the symptoms started, I immediately took him to the emergency veterinary clinic. When my regular veterinary clinic opened, we transferred Riley to them to spend the rest of the day. By evening he was recovered.
Your veterinarian will start intravenous fluids immediately and will treat the other symptoms which can last up to two days. If you take your dog to the veterinarian right away your dog will most likely survive. Only about 10% of dogs with HGE do not survive. As I experienced with my dog, and statistics show that up to 15% of dogs that get it may get it again.
In my practice as a behavior consultant, I have seen where people whose dog has gotten sick, wait a day or so to see if the dog gets better before they take their dog to the veterinarian. If your dog has HGE, this is a death sentence. Take your dog to the veterinarian at the first signs of any illness.
I hope this article has helped you understand this very dangerous illness. Riley is going on 13 and is very healthy.