Antibiotic-responsive histiocytic ulcerative colitis in 9 dogs

J Vet Intern Med. 2004 Jul-Aug;18(4):499-504. doi: 10.1892/0891-6640(2004)18<499:ahucid>;2.


Canine histiocytic ulcerative colitis (HUC) is characterized by colonic inflammation with predominantly periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive macrophages. The inflammation results in colonic thickening, ulcerations, and distortion of normal glandular architecture. Resultant clinical signs consist of chronic large bowel diarrhea, tenesmus, and marked weight loss, and the disease frequently results in euthanasia. Conventional therapy consists of some combination of prednisone, azathioprine, sulfasalazine, and metronidazole. Nine dogs (8 Boxers and 1 English Bulldog) with histologic confirmation of HUC were treated with antibiotic therapy (either with enrofloxacin alone or in combination with metronidazole and amoxicillin). Clinical signs, physical examination findings, laboratory abnormalities, and the histologic severity of the disease were evaluated. Four of the 9 dogs had been treated previously with conventional therapy and had failed to respond favorably; then, these dogs were placed on antibiotic therapy (enrofloxacin, n = 1; enrofloxacin, metronidazole, and amoxicillin, n = 3) and had resolution of clinical signs within 3-12 days. Five dogs were treated solely with antibiotic therapy (enrofloxacin, n = 1; enrofloxacin and metronidazole, n = 1; enrofloxacin, metronidazole, and amoxicillin, n = 3), and clinical signs resolved in 2-7 days. Repeated biopsy specimens were obtained from 5 dogs after treatment, and all showed marked histologic improvement. The increase in body weight after treatment was statistically significant (P = .01). Three dogs currently are not on any treatment and have had resolution of clinical signs for up to 14 months. These observations suggest that an infectious agent responsive to antibiotics plays an integral role in the clinical manifestation of canine HUC, and they support the use of antibiotics in its treatment.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Amoxicillin / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Enrofloxacin
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones / administration & dosage
  • Histiocytes
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / administration & dosage
  • Quinolones / administration & dosage
  • Records / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Quinolones
  • Metronidazole
  • Enrofloxacin
  • Amoxicillin