Gastritis And Gastrointestinal Ulcers In Dogs

Inflammation of the Stomach (Gastritis) In Dogs

Inflammation of the stomach is also known as gastritis and is most often caused by something a dog has eaten that injures the lining of the stomach. The symptom that is most frequently seen is vomiting. If more severe cases, there may be evidence on the vomit of whatever was ingested to injure the stomach lining such as grass, bile, fresh blood, digested blood which will resemble coffee grounds, or froth. If the dog has abdominal pain, it may raise its hindquarters while keeping the chest and forelegs close to the ground. This position seems to give the animal some relief.

It is common for the animal to be excessively thirsty immediately after vomiting. There may be diarrhea. While animals with short term or occasional vomiting do not usually display any other symptoms, animals with long term vomiting may be weak, lethargic, dehydrated, and have weight loss, electrolyte imbalance and acid base disorders. The treatment and control are the same as the treatment and control of vomiting. The prognosis depends on whether or not the vomiting can be stopped or controlled. Short term gastritis usually responds well to fasting and avoiding the ingestion of the substance which triggered the condition. The prognosis of an animal with long term gastritis is variable. There is ongoing research into this area, with trials of medications and diets. This research may provide new treatments in the future.

Gastrointestinal Ulcers In Dogs

Gastrointestinal ulcers in dogs can be caused by many things. This includes, tumors, infections, drugs and generalized diseases. The ulcer is the result of a breakdown of the normal stomach lining. They are aggravated by increased levels of hydrochloric acid or pepsin which is a digestive enzyme. Ulcer formation is more rapid in animals with conditions that increase acid production or those that damage the stomach lining. Some animals with stomach ulcer do not show any symptoms. Other animals may have vomiting, occasional with fresh blood or digested blood, and abdominal discomfort which may seem to subside after the animal has eaten. There may also be signs of anemia, such as pale gums, and the animal may pass dark stools stained with blood. Some signs may indicate the cause of the ulcer, such as the symptoms related to kidney failure.

If the dog has a history of abdominal discomfort, vomiting, or unexplained weight loss, the veterinarian may perform several tests to try to diagnose the cause, such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, parasite evaluation and a biochemical profile. Abdominal z-rays or ultrasound scan may also be used, and if the cause is unclear, or it is apparent gastrointestinal disease, the veterinarian may recommend an endoscopy procedure or a biopsy. The objective of ulcer management is to identify the cause of the ulcer, then eliminate or control that cause. The animal will also need a high standard of supportive care.

The veterinarian may prescribe medication which will reduce the gastric acids, prevent further damage to the stomach lining and promote healing in the ulcer. Treatment is usually for six to eight weeks. The animal should also be given a bland diet such as cottage cheese and rice or chicken and rice. The healing of the ulcer would ideally be monitored through an endoscopy procedure. However, this is not always possible due to the cost of the procedure, or the animal’s tolerance for it. If the ulcer does not respond to medication, it may be necessary for the veterinarian to perform a biopsy of the stomach and small bowel. It may be necessary for several biopsies to be performed as the lesions may not be apparent or they may be located sporadically through the intestines. The prognosis for dogs with peptic ulcer and benign stomach tumors is good. The prognosis for dogs suffering from ulcers related to renal or liver failure, or cancers such as gastrinoma and stomach carcinoma is poor.

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