Intussusception

Intussusception is a life-threatening condition involving an abnormal invagination ("telescoping") of a portion of a dog's or cat's small or large intestine into a dilated portion of bowel situated just ahead of it. It causes obstruction to normal flow within the intestine. In severe instances, the blood supply to the portion of the intestine involved will be cut off, resulting in the death of that tissue and serious health problems. The site at which an intussusception ismost likely to occur in dogs is where the small intestine links up with the large intestine. The condition is more common in dogs than in cats and young dogs less than 8 months old are most frequently affected. Predisposing factors for developing this condition include acute enteritis or gastroenteritis due to canine parvovirus, other infectious agents, intestinal surgery, inflammation, metabolic derangement, parasites, tumor or swallowed foreign objects.

The most common signs of intussusception are vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Astroesophageal intussusception is rare in dogs and most often occurs in the German Shepherd Dog. Most dogs with gastroesophageal intussuception have severe clinical abnormalities, including collapse, respiratory difficulties, and shock. Although plain radiography may not always lead to a specific diagnosis of intussusception, the use of ultrasonography along with radiography helps to establish a definitive diagnosis. If intussusception is diagnosed, immediate surgery is necessary to correct the invagination and to remove any dead portions of the bowel that may be present. The prognosis is usually guarded to poor because of complications. Double intestinal intussusception is a rare occurrence in dogs. Timely diagnosis with typical clinical signs and ultrasonographic findings, effective management of blood abnormalities, and immediate surgical intervention can improve the prognosis for these cases.4 Deworming and other treatment of any underlying disease may prevent recurrence.

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References

  1. Chris C. Pinney. The Complete Home Veterinary Guide
  2. J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med. 2000 Oct;47(8):507-11. Acute enteritis or 'gastroenteritis in young dogs as a predisposing factor for intestinal intussusception: 'a retrospective study.Rallis TS, Papazoglou LG, Adamama-Moraitou KK, Prassinos NN
  3. Douglass K. Manual of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Medicine
  4. Ultrasonographic diagnosis and surgical management of double intestinal intussusception in 3 dogs