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What is Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut)?

The cause of dysbiosis syndrome in dogs varies, but it is almost always due to diet or medications, such as antibiotics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS). The condition itself is due to the destruction of the good bacteria in the intestinal tract, giving the bad bacteria the chance to take over. Risk factors for this disorder include a diet high in processed foods and grains, stress, antibiotics, corticosteroids, and NSAIDS.

Dysbiosis syndrome is a disturbance in the small intestines, leading to damage of the intestinal lining and microvilli. The main job of these microvilli is to absorb the digested nutrients and send them through the cell into the bloodstream. When the lining and microvilli are damaged, they allow molecules to be transported into the bloodstream without being examined by mucosal cells. The liver tries to screen the molecules, but cannot do it so the immune system takes over. This means the immune system has to neglect other systems, such as fighting bacteria and filtering the blood, causing autoimmune diseases and other problems.

Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) Average Cost

From 345 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) in Dogs

The symptoms of dysbiosis syndrome vary depending on the reason for the syndrome and the age and health of your dog. Some of the most common signs your dog is suffering from dysbiosis syndrome are:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Hyperactivity
  • Bladder infections
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Gum disease
  • Immune system disorders
  • Respiratory illnesses such as asthma
  • Allergies
  • Joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal cancer

 Types

Dysbiosis syndrome can manifest itself in many ways, such as allergies (dermatitis), behavioral problems (hyperactivity), intestinal distress (diarrhea, gas, vomiting), respiratory issues (asthma), and immune system disorders (chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome). There are also several names that dysbiosis syndrome is known by:

  • Antibiotic-responsive diarrhea
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Small intestinal dysbiosis (SID)
  • Tylosin-responsive diarrhea
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Causes of Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) in Dogs

According to veterinary professionals, the most common cause of dysbiosis syndrome is antibiotics. However, there are a few other causes, such as:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Dyes
  • Grains
  • NSAIDS
  • Parasites
  • Preservatives
  • Processed foods
  • Stress
  • Surfactants
  • Toxins
  • Vaccines
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Diagnosis of Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) in Dogs

To diagnose dysbiosis syndrome, the veterinarian will need to know your dog’s medical history and background, including any medications (antibiotics, NSAIDS, corticosteroids) given at any time. You should also tell the veterinarian about the symptoms you have noticed and what kind of foods you feed your dog, which should include kibble, canned food, and treats. Be sure to let her know if you have given your dog human food or table scraps as well.

A comprehensive physical examination will need to be performed, which may include body weight, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels, breath sounds, and abdominal palpations. Both urine and stool samples will be taken at this time to examine under a microscope. Bacterial and fungal cultures may also be taken for microscopic evaluation. A liver enzyme panel will be performed to check for increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). In addition, the veterinarian will perform a complete blood count (CBC), biochemical profile, arterial blood gas (ABG), blood glucose, packed cell volume (PCV), and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Bacterial and fungal cultures may also be taken for microscopic evaluation.

Abdominal radiographs (x-rays) are needed to check for any underlying diseases, and an ultrasound may be done to provide additional information. The veterinarian may also want to do an MRI and CT scan to determine if there are any blockages or other abnormalities in the intestinal system. Most often, the veterinarian will not be able to get a conclusive diagnosis from the examination, but will use these tests to eliminate other illnesses and conditions.

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Treatment of Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) in Dogs

The treatment for dysbiosis syndrome will vary depending on the cause (if known), the amount of damage that has been done (if known), and the health of your dog. The treatment for any illness is usually stabilization, medication, and observation. If there are complications from the condition, they will be treated according to how serious and how treatable they are.

Stabilization

If your pet has had diarrhea or vomiting, your veterinarian will most likely start an intravenous (IV) line to administer fluids and electrolytes. This prevents dehydration and restores electrolyte levels. If your dog has any respiratory issues, oxygen therapy will be started.

Medication

Enzyme supplements are the medication of choice for dysbiosis syndrome to help restore the bacterial balance in the intestinal tract. If your dog has other conditions, medication may be given for those as well. For infections, there are several “safe” antibiotics your veterinarian can give your pet if necessary. The veterinarian will also suggest a special diet for your dog that will help the digestive system heal and prevent the syndrome from returning.

Observation

The veterinarian will usually not keep your dog for observation unless there are serious complications. You will be allowed to observe your pet from home.

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Recovery of Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) in Dogs

Be consistent and vigilant with your dog’s treatment to avoid a recurrence of dysbiosis syndrome. The diet your dog is on must continue for life and always remind anyone in the home about your pet’s condition. In addition, be sure to tell any veterinary professional you take your pet to see about the condition and that the administration of antibiotics or NSAIDS must be carefully considered. As long as you stick to these guidelines, your dog should recover completely with no lasting complications. If you have any concerns, you should call your veterinarian.

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Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) Average Cost

From 345 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

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Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Jax

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence
Gas

I have a lab who has been having problems with fecal incontinence for almost 2 yrs now. Most of the time it’s a soft formed, but can also be just soft. It’s very rare he has come lately formed stools. After multiple stool samples, and exams, we were referred to a neurologist who diagnosed him with degenerative myelopathy. Since then, he’s been on 1500mg if Acetyl L-Carnitinr BID that he takes with his meals, but I can’t help but wonder if he may have leaky gut/IBD. He has a history of foreign body removal from hid stomach (an entire tennis ball) when he was 14 mos hold. He’s been known to chew almost anything, which I’m sure has included ingesting parts of whatever he was chewing on. It’s not as bad now that he’s older, but I’ve wondered if his past chewing/eating habits have come back to haunt us.

May 6, 2018

Jax's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Whilst I understand your concerns, I am sure that your Veterinarian and the Neurologist would have considered other causes of faecal incontinence or soft stool when performing their diagnosis; however without examining Jax I cannot say for certain either way. You should also note that acetyl l-carnitine may also cause stomach upset which may lead to soft stool and diarrhoea as well. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 6, 2018

If he has a history of pica, I would get a TLi/B12/Cobalamin blood test to rule out EPI. It's a fairly inexpensive test and won't hurt anything. (I am not a vet, but I have numerous GSDs so GI problems are part of everyday life.)

July 3, 2018

Edward S.

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Nanuk

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Mutt, husky, lab

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Picky Eater Loss Of Fur Gas Bloated

My dog has severe environmental allergies and will loose most of her coat, comes off in clumps. Had her on apoquell for about a year which helped with her itching yet don’t feel this is a good long term solution. She is a finicky eater and her stomach has a rumbling sound often. I suspect leaky gut could an issue so from feeding her good quality kibble, grain green Fromm Surf and turf. Added Lactobacillus acidophilus to help establish a good bacteria balance. My question is, are there certain cultures that work better than others to aid in good gut health? Thanks, Thomas

Feb. 3, 2018

Nanuk's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are numerous probiotics which are available on the market, the most notable one is FortiFlora by Purina which is practically universally available unlike other products. I don’t have any preference from one product to another, only mentioning FortiFlora because I can be confident you can find it in your area. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.proplanveterinarydiets.com/products/fortiflora-dog-probiotics/

Feb. 4, 2018

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Lily

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My dog has a bad sound in her stomach and diarrhea but only one day once every 1-3 weeks. I’m feeding her a raw diet of vegetables and chicken. Is this leaky gut?

Jan. 10, 2018

Lily's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Raw chicken can contain a huge amount of nasty bacteria, which may be affecting Lily's GI tract. Salmonella and E Coli are typically present in raw chicken, and those bacteria can be passed on to you. It would be best to see your veterinarian, have her stool assessed for abnormal bacterial quantities, and based on an exam, recommend a safe diet for her. I hope that she does well.

Jan. 11, 2018

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TK

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite
Lethargic
Depressed
Blood In Stool
Liquid Bowel Movement

Due to Hurricane Irma we had to change our dog's raw food diet to kibble "CRAVE" brand and he started having diarrhea, then normal poop but today it progressed to dark bloody liquidy stool and we can't afford to change him back. We don't know what to do because we've been displaced and are staying with relatives. What can we do?

Sept. 22, 2017

TK's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Bloody diarrhoea can be caused by a few different conditions which may include infections, parasites, foreign objects, dietary disorders, colitis among other issues; try to feed TK a diet of boiled chicken and rice (33%:67%) which is bland and shouldn’t aggravate his gastrointestinal tract, this may help especially if fed in small meals throughout the day. But if the bloody diarrhoea continues, a Veterinary visit would be needed for a once over and to check faeces for parasites as well. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 22, 2017

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Dana

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Vomit

Alright so this is a long shot, but I’m hoping someone can help me. My dog Dana is 4 and throws up blood specs occasionally, probably 2-5 times a year. I’ve been to the vet twice for this and got x-rays both times and received medicine. Both visits Dana was prescribed with Metronidazole Tablets for GI inflammation and dysbiosis. The first vet visit happened when she was around 1 and the second happened in December 2019. The second time I went they seemed really concerned but once the x-day came back they sent me home with medicine and didn’t give me any explanation on what could be happening. Her x-ray showed a little something in her tummy both times, but they don’t know what it is/not a huge concern I guess? The first time I went to the vet they said it could possibly be parts of tennis balls so I stopped giving her those. It’s definitely not an object, more like little bits of something. Both visits she had this show up on her X-ray. The second time I went they didn’t give me any explanation on what they thought it could be but gave me the same medicine they prescribed before. If anyone can direct me to a vet that can help or has any information that could help me please reach out!! Throwing up blood seems so serious so I don’t know why the vet isn’t more concerned with what is causing it. I’ll pay anything to figure out what’s wrong, but I really don’t want to go to the same vet that leaves me with questions. Dana threw up blood this morning before breakfast. I’m familiar with dogs throwing up stomach acid when they are hungry. Dana’s throw up looked like stomach acid but has little specs of blood.

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DustyRose

dog-breed-icon

Cane Corse

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Poor Appetite
Fatigue
Depressed

I have a 7 yo Cane Corso She recently had a bad ear infection and was treated with antibiotics and steroids.for 4 weeks. She is now about 4 weeks after the treatment and she is just not the same. She has less energy, has minimal appetite and has very little interest in her treats. She will eat a little, only the wet canned or table scraps but is refusing the kibble now. But is slow to go for the food when given. May wait an hour or more before eating it. Total opposite of her personality prior to the treatment. She use to inhale her dinner and any treats given. It's like she turned old over night and became very depressed.Her usual diet prior to treatment was grain free kibble with a can of grain free moist mixed in with it or meat table scraps if available. I also considered the change in her personality might be mental. She did have a traumatic experience when going to the vet. Because of CoVid19 the vet office staff would come out to the car to get her and I was not allowed to go in with her. She was so scared it took 3 people to get her out of the car and she looked at me with such fear it broke my heart. :( Plus our routine has changed since I am working at home now. Can you advise considering her symptoms on weather you feel it maybe a after effect from the medications, depression/trauma or maybe both and if any of these how to treat?

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Koda

dog-breed-icon

Boxer

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Allergies, Appetite Loss

My 2 yr old boxer rescue came malnutritioned to the point I could count every bone in her back. She itched continuously and was coming off of prednisone and apoquel. She had an overgrowth of yeast as well. I immediately put her on a raw diet with goats milk, omega 3 oil and supplements and she started to gain weight. I also treated her with 2 rounds of yeasty beast. Eventually I took her to a Derm vet that diagnosed her with demodex and she finished a round of ivermectin and milk thistle 3 weeks ago and seemed to be improving greatly. A week ago she relapsed into the itchy and red flared skin again and the dreaded twitchy ears. Back to the bandaid solution of baths and Benadryl for now. We are going to start a leaky gut treatment of probiotics, glutamine and external wind to calm her itchy skin. Fingers crossed we are on the right path.

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Suzie

dog-breed-icon

Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Vomiting Leaky Gut

My dog was suffering from diarrhea and vomiting without no clear reason every 10 to 15 days. I took her to a dozen of vets, who all prescribed gastro intestinal food & probiotics. She had been fed Virbac gastro-intestinal + 1 sachet of purina fortiflora per day for more than a year and a half. Then, my personal doctor (who also has dogs) told me to give her Enterol. I giver her two sachets per day (she is 30 kgs) since almost two months, and the leaky gut problems stopped. I pray that she recovers from this completely

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Blake

dog-breed-icon

Poodle

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My previously healthy 2 year old male intact standard poodle developed an acute episode of Pancreatitis 2 months ago. He was hospitalized for 2 days and treated with iv fluids and the usual meds and stabilized quickly. This pancreatic episode followed a stressful trip to the groomer. He was prescribed Royal Canin ID GI formula by VET which is grain intensive but has agreed with him otherwise. His weight, appetitie, energy are all WNL. Yesterday he developed an acute episode of diarrhea and straining. I took him to the vet and she checked his fecal smear and he has severe dysbiosis. Yeast, Cocci, and Clostidia which may be due to the inflammation that remains from the Pancreatis. He is on a Myciquin for the yeast, probiotics, and Flagyl. My question has to do with diet since it can contribute to dysbiosis (leaky gut). The prescribed food is keeping the pancreatitis under control -- his cpl (pancreas specific lipase) is normal. What would you recommend that would keep his pancreatic conditon stable, yet address the leaky gut? He is also a Champion and breeder would like to breed, but I feel this would be too much of a stressor....help! Thank you. Dr. Sandra Scantling

Dysbiosis (Leaky Gut) Average Cost

From 345 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

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