Gastritis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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    What is Gastritis in Dogs?

    Gastritis is a condition that causes gastrointestinal inflammation or inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The condition can occur as a short episode which is defined as acute gastritis or have a longer duration which is defined as chronic gastritis. Chronic gastritis is often associated with other conditions such as allergy or parasitic infection. The condition often results in gastrointestinal upset including excessive vomiting. 

    What Causes Gastritis in Dogs?

    Acute gastritis actually occurs quite frequently in dogs. This is because many dogs are likely to eat unsolicited items such as garbage, spoiled food, foreign objects, grass, and table scraps. When acute gastritis occurs, most dogs recover within a few days when food is withheld. The likelihood of recovery is very good, even when the initial cause isn’t determined. There are many conditions and causes that are associated with gastritis in dogs including:

    • Severe allergies 
    • Parasitic infection 
    • Liver Disease 
    • Mast cell tumor 
    • Bacterial infection 
    • Foreign body 
    • Viral infection 
    • Kidney Disease 
    • Endocrine Disease

    Who’s At Risk of Developing Gastritis?

    Chronic Gastritis is most commonly observed in dogs under 5 years of age. Breeds that are at a higher risk of developing Gastritis include German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Shar-peis. 

    What Are the Symptoms of Gastritis?

    The majority of dogs that suffer from gastritis will experience excessive vomiting, often times the yellowish, foamy bile variety. In addition to this, you may observe signs such as: 

    • Blood or food in the vomit (especially if your dog has consumed something inappropriate such as a foreign object or table scraps) 
    • Gagging or breathing heavily following eating or drinking 
    • Tenderness around the stomach region
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Lethargy 
    • Dehydration due to persistent vomiting 
    • Hunching of the back (in an attempt to ease their abdominal discomfort)

    How Can Gastritis in Dogs Be Prevented?

    Whether or not Gastritis can be prevented is dependent upon the cause behind the condition. Oftentimes, Gastritis is the result of a change in diet, a new food allergy, or medication. When this is the case, it’s easier to prevent or stop Gastritis in its tracks. Many dogs will also develop Gastritis in response to getting into something they shouldn’t such as garbage, plants, or other foreign objects. Ensure that garbage and any other objects that pose a risk to your dog are not accessible in your home and yard. 

    However, if your dog’s case of Gastritis is associated with an underlying condition or disease, it is likely unpreventable. 

    How Is Gastritis Diagnosed?

    Tests for gastritis may include blood tests, urinalysis, fecal tests, abdominal X-rays, abdominal ultrasound, and endoscopy. In acute cases, only minimal diagnostics such as blood and urine tests are required.

    If the gastritis is chronic, more involved testing will be undertaken to determine the exact cause of your dog’s condition and symptoms. 

    What is the Treatment for Gastritis?

    Treatment for Gastritis is based on the specific cause. Most acute cases resolve without medical intervention. Non-medical treatment guidelines for acute gastritis typically include:

    • Withhold food for 24-48 hours 
    • Offer small amounts of water frequently during the first day  (if vomiting continues upon giving water, seek immediate veterinary treatment)
    • Once vomiting has subsided for 24 hours, feed half amount of typical food 
    • Resume feeding with small meals given frequently (usually about ½ of the normal daily amount of food, divided into 4-6 meals)
    • Over the next few days, gradually increase the amount of food offered 
    • if vomiting returns, notify your veterinarian and seek treatment 

    Medical treatment for dogs with gastritis may include:

    • Anti-vomiting medications
    • Fluid treatment if dehydrated 
    • Medications for ulcers if detected 

    What is the Prognosis for Gastritis?

    The prognosis is good for cases of acute gastritis. However, for chronic gastritis, the prognosis is dependent upon the underlying cause.

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