There is normally a large population of bacteria that reside in both the large and small intestines of dogs- especially the large intestine. As long as the various types of bacteria remain in the proper balance, and in the proper numbers, digestion occurs as it should. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when ‘bad' bacteria grow and multiply more than they should in the small intestine. This occurs when, for various reasons, there is undigested material sitting around for too long in the small intestine, allowing the bacteria to grow and thrive for an extended period. SIBO is most common in dogs who suffer from previous medical conditions such as neurologic problems, gastrointestinal obstruction, parasites, pancreatitis, and other issues. The following symptoms and treatments are common for dogs who suffer from SIBO.
Chronic diarrhea is one of the most common signs of SIBO in dogs. For dogs without pre-existing medical conditions, chronic, intermittent diarrhea may be a sign of idiopathic SIBO ("Idiopathic" simply means that that the original underlying cause is not fully understood). Small-bowel diarrhea is the most common type of diarrhea that will accompany it, and it is characterized by limited straining and large volumes.
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