Malabsorption in Dogs

Overview of Canine Malabsorption

Malabsorption refers to deficiency in the absorption of one or more nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract as a result of disruption of the normal process of digestion and absorption. Canine digestion and absorption of nutrients occur in three sequential phases: intraluminal digestion, mucosal digestion and absorption, and delivery of nutrients to the circulation.

Causes of Malabsorption in Dogs

Many diseases cause chronic malabsorption by interfering with these processes. Some of these include:

What to Watch For

Depending on the underlying cause, different breeds and ages are affected. There is a tremendous variation in spectrum and severity of signs.

Diagnosis of Malabsorption in Dogs

A thorough knowledge of history and clinical signs is very important and is most helpful in the diagnosis of malabsorption. The following diagnostic tests may also be necessary:

Treatment of Malabsoprtion

Treatment should be directed at the underlying cause, as different disorders require different therapy.

Home Care

Administer prescribed diet and medication. Follow patient closely for resolution of symptoms, especially diarrhea and body weight. If improvement is not appreciated over the first week or two, contact your veterinarian.

There is no preventative available for malabsorptive disorders.