BACKGROUND : Chronic diarrhea (CD) is common in dogs, and information on frequency and distribution of primary and
secondary causes is lacking.
OBJECTIVES : To evaluate underlying causes and predictors of outcome in dogs with CD.
ANIMALS : One hundred and thirty-six client-owned dogs with CD (≥3 weeks duration).
METHODS : Retrospective review of medical records (Small Animal Clinic, Freie Universit€at Berlin, Germany, 09/2009-07/
2011). Quantification of final diagnoses and comparison of clinical aspects including disease severity and clinicopathological
abnormalities among dogs with clinical remission (either complete [gastrointestinal signs absent] or partial [clinical improvement
of gastrointestinal signs and reduced episodes with shortened duration]), and those without recovery.
RESULTS : Ninety percent of dogs were diagnosed with a primary enteropathy: inflammatory (71%; of those 66% dietary
responsive, 23% idiopathic, 11% antibiotic responsive), infectious (13%), neoplastic (4%), and in one dog each mechanical
disease or systemic vasculitis. Secondary causes were diagnosed in 10% of dogs: exocrine pancreatic (6%), endocrine (2%),
and in one dog each hepatic, renal, and cardiac disease. In total, 87% of dogs had clinical remission, whereas 13% died or
did not respond to treatment: Lack of recovery was frequently recorded for dogs with primary inflammatory (idiopathic) or
neoplastic disease and was significantly associated with increased disease severity scores (P = .005), anemia (hematocrit
< 40%, P < .001), severe hypoalbuminemia (serum albumin <2.0 g/dL, P = .008), and severe hypocobalaminemia
(serum cobalamin concentration <200 pg/mL, P = .006).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE : Inflammatory enteropathies and particularly those of dietary origin were the most
common causes of CD in dogs. Findings support the usefulness of hematocrit, and serum albumin and cobalamin concentration
as prognostic markers in dogs with CD.
Parts of this manuscript
were presented as an abstract at the 2015 and 2011 DGKDVG
congress in Berlin/Germany, the 2015 and 2012 InnLab Forum
in Leipzig and Gottingen, Germany, the 2014 ECVIM Forum in
Mainz, Germany, and the 2012 ACVIM Forum in New Orleans,