Haemorrhagic gastro-enteritis (HGE) in dogs and catsHaemorrhagic gastro-enteritis (HGE) is a syndrome where a dog or cat passes diarrhoea and/or vomit containing fresh red blood. Sometimes they can have profuse watery bright red diarrhoea and it can appear very dramatic, which can be extremely distressing for owners as. There are many different causes of this HGE. Some pets are more prone than others. Depending upon the cause, most pets make a full recovery. However, sometimes they require hospitalisation before they are well enough to return home. Our vet describes what to look out for in this article.This article was written by a FirstVet vetDid you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.✓ Included free as part of many pet insurance policies✓ Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet✓ Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Rating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1300 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviews BOOK Causes of HGE in dogs and catsStomach or intestinal ulcers - usually causes either fresh red blood in stools or vomit, or black stools with digested blood. The vomit may also appear speckles brown like coffee granulesInfections - bacterial, viral, parasitic or protozoal infections can cause bloody diarrhoea and/or vomit. Parvovirus in dogs and panleukopenia in cats are a severe cause of this disease and ones we vaccinate for in the UK.Foreign bodies in the gastro-intestinal tractGastro-intestinal tumoursClotting disorders - these can stop blood clotting normally, for example, after consuming rat poisonCertain medications - for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can trigger this syndrome in certain individualsSymptoms of HGE in dogs and catsProfuse watery diarrhoea with blood - may be in large quantities with straining and urgencyVomiting with fresh red blood or coffee ground colour brown specklesReduced appetite and nausea - lip smacking, droolingLethargyAbdominal pain - reluctance to move, being withdrawn, crying/whimperingFeverIf dogs or cats lose large amounts of fluid rapidly from the gut then they are at risk of developing shock, which can cause damage to vital organs. It is important if your dog is passing large quantities of vomit or diarrhoea you seek advice for this to treat for shock. Signs such as low blood pressure and high heart rate are usually only detected by a vet.Symptoms of shock include:Rapid breathingWeaknessSevere lethargyPale gumsDiagnosis of HGE in dogs and catsThere is no specific test for HGE. Diagnosis is usually made by clinical examination together with a full history. Other tests, such as blood tests, faecal analysis and ultrasound/x-rays, may be used to look for an underlying cause. It is common not to find a specific underlying cause. As a result, your pet may be treated symptomatically and as long as they are responding to treatment further testing may not be required.Treatment of HGE in dogs and catsNot all dogs and cats with HGE require hospitalisation. If they are still bright and eating, and their diarrhoea is not profuse, after examination by your vet, they may recommend that they be treated at home. Medications often prescribed include gastro-protectants, probiotics and a highly digestible (bland) diet.If they are dehydrated, or in shock, your pet may need to be admitted for intravenous fluid therapy and medication, especially if they are not eating. They may require anti-sickness drugs, pain relief and sometimes antibiotics.When should I see my vet?Passing vomit or diarrhoea with bloodNot eating or lethargic for two days or morePassing repeated profuse diarrhoea or vomitStill worried?Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.