Who let the poo out?

Learn about Acute Haemorrhagic Diarrhoea Syndrome 

This time of year, we seem to see some serious poo problems with our canine family members, and one notorious culprit is Acute Haemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome (AHDS).  

AHDS is a fairly dramatic and scary syndrome characterised by what can be profuse, bloody diarrhea that leads to severe dehydration. Without fast treatment, dogs can go into shock and die. Vomiting often occurs too, with blood in about half of the cases.  It’s important to rule out other life-threatening conditions such as parvo virus, parasites or a foreign body so the correct treatment can be provided. 


There’s no specific test for AHDS, but vets can use a simple blood test called packed cell volume (PCV) to help diagnose it. If we are suspicious of other causes, we may recommend x-rays or other tests to rule these out. 


There are numerous possible causes for AHDS and most often we do not identify the underlying factor, however some studies have shown a gut bacteria called Clostridium perfringens Type A can be (but isn’t always) involved. 


Treatment focuses on replacing fluids quickly to prevent shock. Dogs are given medications to ease nausea and pain, and they often start a low-fat diet once they’re eating. Antibiotics aren’t usually needed, but probiotics are used to restore good gut bacteria. Luckily, most dogs start feeling better within 24 hours of hospitalisation and usually leave the hospital (if required) within three days. 

If you notice any changes in your pet’s stool, especially if it lasts more than a day or if they seem unwell, it’s best to schedule a veterinary appointment. Don’t forget to bring your dog and a sample of their poo to the appointment!