Research Article: A longitudinal study on diarrhoea and vomiting in young dogs of four large breeds

Date Published: February 2, 2012

Publisher: BioMed Central

Author(s): Bente K Sævik, Ellen M Skancke, Cathrine Trangerud.

http://doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-54-8

Abstract

Prospective studies to document the occurrence of canine diarrhoea and vomiting are relatively scarce in dogs, and the majority of published studies are based on information from clinical records. This study investigates the incidence risk of diarrhoea and vomiting as well as potential risk factors.

A cohort study of 585 privately owned dogs of four breeds: Newfoundland, Labrador retriever, Leonberger, and Irish wolfhound. The owners maintained a continuous log regarding housing, exercise, nutrition, and health of their dogs. Episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting were recorded in a consecutive manner in a booklet. The owners completed the questionnaires and reported information at three, four, six, 12, 18, and 24/25 months of age, called observational ages.

The incidence of both diarrhoea and vomiting was influenced by breed. Both diarrhoea and vomiting were relatively common in young dogs, occurring most frequently during the first months of life. After three months of age, the odds of diarrhoea were significantly lower when compared to the observational period seven weeks to three months (OR ranging from 0.31 to 0.70 depending on the period). More males than females suffered from diarrhoea (OR = 1.42). The occurrence of diarrhoea was more common in dogs that also experienced episode(s) of vomiting during the study period (OR = 5.43) and vice versa (OR = 5.50). In the majority of dogs episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting did not occur at the same time. Dogs in urban areas had higher odds (OR = 1.88) of getting diarrhoea compared to dogs living in rural areas. The occurrence of both diarrhoea and vomiting demonstrated a seasonal variation with higher incidence during the summer months.

Both diarrhoea and vomiting occurred most frequently during the first months of life. The incidence of diarrhoea and vomiting was significantly different between breeds. Diarrhoea occurred more frequently in males and in dogs living in urban areas. Also, a positive association between the occurrence of diarrhoea and vomiting in the same dog was found.

Partial Text

Prospective studies to document the occurrence of diarrhoea and vomiting are relatively scarce in dogs, and the majority of published studies are based on information from clinical records in veterinary hospitals. However, information from such databases might not be representative for the general population of dogs [1]. Diarrhoea and vomiting often occur as self-limiting episodes with few concerns for the owner, and no need for a veterinary consultation [2,3]. In such situations the owners might be more prone to “wait and see”, compared to situations where the clinical signs are not so familiar. Thus, studies estimating occurrence of diarrhoea and vomiting based on clinical records will underestimate their true occurrence.

The study was carried out in agreement with the provisions enforced by the Norwegian National Animal Research Authority.

Initially 700 dogs belonging to 79 breeders were included. A total of 585 dogs (283 males and 302 females) from 568 owners participated in the study. Hence, the breeder-litter ratio in the study was 0.75 (79/106). The number of reports retrieved by the investigators from the different observational periods is listed in Table 1.

The present study reports on the incidence and risk factors of diarrhoea and vomiting in young, large breed dogs in Norway. Both diarrhoea and vomiting are relatively common conditions, although diarrhoea is more often registered. Most of the dogs only suffered from one episode of either diarrhoea and/or vomiting during the study period. Moreover, dogs suffering from several episodes of gastrointestinal disorders demonstrated relatively long periods without signs in between these episodes. In line with the findings of Hubbard et al. [3], a positive association between the occurrence of diarrhoea and vomiting in the same dog was found. In the majority of dogs in the present study, however, episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting did not occur at the same time.

Both diarrhoea and vomiting were relatively common in young dogs, occurring most frequently the first months of life. The incidence of diarrhoea and vomiting was significantly different between the breeds. Diarrhoea occurred more frequently in males and in dogs living in the urban areas. Also, a positive association between the occurrence of diarrhoea and vomiting in the same dog was found. In the majority of dogs in the present study, however, episodes of diarrhoea and vomiting did not occur at the same time. The occurrence of both diarrhoea and vomiting demonstrated a seasonal variation with a higher incidence during the summer months.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Parts of the results were presented at the 20th Congress of the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Companion Animals (ECVIM-CA) in Toulouse, France in 2010.

BKS, CT and EMS participated in the design of the study. CT performed the statistical analyses, and all authors contributed to interpretation of the data. All authors contributed to drafting and revising of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.1186/1751-0147-54-8