MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Noninfectious Diseases of the GI Tract in Animals


Alex Gallagher

, DVM, MS, DACVIM-SAIM, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2020 | Modified Oct 2022

The major causes of noninfectious disease of the GI tract include:

  • dietary issues (eg, feed overload, intolerance, allergy)

  • dietary indiscretion, including foreign body ingestion

  • GI obstruction

  • mucosal injury (eg, gastric ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, neoplasia)

  • intestinal dysbiosis

  • enzyme deficiencies

  • congenital defects

GI manifestations such as vomiting and diarrhea may develop secondary to systemic or metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, or hypoadrenocorticism. The causes are uncertain in several diseases, including abomasal ulcers in cattle, gastric ulcers in pigs and foals, gastric torsion in dogs, and acute intestinal obstruction and displacement of the abomasum in cattle. In noninfectious diseases of the GI tract, usually only a single animal is affected at one time; exceptions are diseases associated with excessive feed intake or poisons, in which herd outbreaks are common.

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