Intussusception in Dogs

Intussusception is an uncommon but potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in dogs of all ages. There are many different causes of this condition, several of which can be eliminated through good routine health practices. Most dogs recover well from intussusception with appropriate surgical intervention if the condition is identified early.

Peyton was a 3 month old, Lab mix dog that was presented to the Oswego Animal Hospital for continued diarrhea. Her and her 3 other siblings had been rescued by Illinois Animal Rescue group and where currently being treated for diarrhea, suspected to be caused by Corona Virus. Her siblings had all improved with the treatment; however she had not and continued to become more dehydrated and stopped eating. Peyton was hospitalized and placed on IV fluids, intravenous antibiotics and additional supportive care. She improved overnight and into the next day, however the following mid-day exam revealed an elevated heart rate and temperature, depressed attitude compared to the morning and a firm, tubular, painful mass in her abdomen. Radiographs where taken and confirmed that she had developed an intussusception.

Intussusception is an invagination of a segment of the gastrointestinal tract into the lumen of an adjoining segment (the intestine slides into itself) and it occur most frequently in young animals with a history of gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, and anorexia). This condition is secondary to something else like intestinal parasites or viral diarrhea. This condition result in obstruction (blockage) of the intestinal tract and can cause the death of the involved segment due to loss of blood flow and potential rupture of the bowel. This condition requires surgery to remove the involved segment of bowel in almost all cases.

Peyton was taken to surgery and was noted that she had a distended, purplish-discolored loop of bowel about 8 inches long and partially tearing. She also had another intussusception, but this portion was pulled out and deemed healthy. The unhealthy segment was cut out and the two healthy ends of the intestinal tract were sutured back together. She recovery very well and was making significant improvement until the following afternoon. Unfortunately, reoccurrence can happen in up to 20% of cases and Peyton was one of those incidences. She again needed surgery to have more of her intestines removed. After her second surgery, Peyton went on to make a full recovery after several additional days in the hospital and was sent home to her loving foster home.