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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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    Bloat in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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      What is Bloat in Dogs?

      Bloat in dogs is the build-up and expansion of the stomach due to food, gas, or fluids. As the stomach expands, the usual blood flow from the hind legs and abdomen is severely restricted from traveling back to the heart, causing some dogs to go into shock due to limited blood volume and blood pooling at the back of the body. Known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, the twisting and rotation of the stomach is a medical and surgical emergency. Other complications can include tears in the walls of the stomach and a harder time breathing. . In some cases, the spleen and pancreas can be dragged along with the stomach when it flips, causing the oxygen-starved pancreas to release toxic hormones that can stop the heart.

      What Causes Bloat in Dogs?

      Vets are unsure as to what exactly causes bloat in dogs but there are a few things that can increase risk such as eating from a raised bowl or consuming one large meal a day. Other causes of bloat in dogs include: 

      • Taking in a lot of food or liquids in a short period of time
      • Weighing more than 99lbs as it may increase the risk of bloat by 20%
      • Exercising immediately after a meal
      • Older age
      • Having a large chest
      • Having a hereditary history of bloat
      • Consuming dry food with fat or oil as one among the first 4 ingredients 
      • Eating from a higher-up food bowl

      Who’s at Risk of Developing Bloat?

      Large, deep-chested breeds have a higher risk of experiencing bloat. This includes Akitas, Boxers, Basset Hounds, and German Shepherds. Some are more susceptible, including Great Danes, Gordon Setters, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, and St. Bernards. 

      What are the Symptoms of Bloat?

      The most obvious sign of bloat in dogs is a distended and hard abdomen and belching. Other bloat symptoms include:

      • Retching
      • Salivation
      • Restlessness 

      Dogs will typically display stomach pain symptoms right away and may drool, act restless, pace, try to vomit or stretch with their front half down and rear end up. As the condition worsens, they may collapse, have pale gums, have a rapid heartbeat, or have shortness of breath. It is critical that owners take their pets to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect bloat. 

      How Can Bloat Be Prevented?

      Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for preventing bloat, there are a few risk factors you should make sure your dog avoids:

      Feed Small Meals

      Instead of one or two huge meals each day, feed your dog numerous smaller meals throughout the day. To avoid overfeeding, make sure meals are correctly portioned according to your dog’s daily calorie needs.

      Slow Down Eating

      Don’t let your dog eat too rapidly; if they’re eating too quickly, they’re likely ingesting too much air. You can put your dog’s food into a slow feeder or get a slow feeder insert for their current bowl. 

      Photo Credit: Outward Hound

      Increase Whole Food Intake

      Processed meals break down into porridge that is readily digested, but whole foods need more effort to digest properly. That hard labor actually strengthens the stomach wall, reducing the chances of future gas build-up or torsion. According to a recent study, including fresh, human-grade food in a dog’s diet was linked to a 59% lower incidence of bloat.

      Limit Water Intake

      Limit your dog’s water intake after meals, especially if they eat dry food. Food will expand in the stomach as a result of the water, and digestive fluids will be diluted, making them less efficient.

      Restrict Play Time Up

      Keep your dog from exercising, running, and playing for at least an hour after meals. This is the same concept as being told not to swim for 30 minutes after eating. Torsion is more common when the stomach is full because it is more prone to twist or flip in response to unexpected movements.

      How is Bloat Diagnosed?

      A veterinarian should be consulted in all cases of bloat to determine the severity. If found early enough, bloat may typically be treated. A blood test may be done to get a better look at the dog’s health. Abdominal x-rays may be taken to verify the diagnosis and determine the severity. If a dog has simple bloat, then the stomach will appear to be very distended and full of food or gas. If the bloat has progressed to GDV, then the stomach would appear extremely distended and look like there is a bubble on top of the swollen stomach.

      What is the Treatment for Bloat?

      Vets will usually treat the shock first to stabilize. Simple bloat that hasn’t twisted the dog’s stomach can be managed without drugs in certain cases, but it may also require fluids or other treatments. If caught early enough, other kinds of bloat, such as GDV, can also be treated. These conditions are usually treated as soon as feasible with surgery. 

      • Surgery to deflate the stomach and put it back into place.
      • Remove any stomach wall that was damaged.
      • Tack the stomach to the abdominal (called a gastropexy) to prevent relapses.


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      Gastroenteritis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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        What Is Gastroenteritis in Dogs?

        vizla dog squatting and pooping on a leash Gastroenteritis

        Gastroenteritis in dogs is an inflammatory illness of the gastrointestinal system (stomach and intestines). It will most usually manifest as diarrhoea with or without vomiting; while it might manifest as simply vomiting, this is significantly less common. Gastroenteritis can be chronic (lasting more than two weeks) or acute (lasting less than two weeks and normally going away on its own, but may worsen over time).

        What Causes Gastroenteritis in Dogs?

        Gastroenteritis in dogs can have a variety of reasons. Anything that drastically affects a dog’s microbiota can cause the disease. Here is a list of potential causes: 

        • Consuming spoiled food
        • Ingesting strange substances
        • Toxin ingestion
        • Parvovirus and other certain viruses and bacteria
        • Kidney and liver disease
        • Worms and other intestinal parasites
        • Food sensitivities
        • Ulcers in the intestine
        • Certain types of gastrointestinal cancer

        What Are The Symptoms Of Gastroenteritis?

        In dogs, gastroenteritis often begins with soft feces that grows progressively wetter. You may detect mucous in the stool, your dog struggling to have a bowel movement, and/or feces in the home later on. Here are some more frequent warning signs:

        • Bowel motions that are explosive and/or frequent
        • Tarry feces
        • Large amounts of watery feces
        • Blood in stool
        • Lethargy
        • Restlessness
        • Pain in the abdomen
        • Nausea
        • Vomiting

        Depending on the degree and course of the condition, dogs may exhibit one or more of these symptoms.

        How Do You Know When To Go To The Vet?

        husky on a table at the vet for Gastroenteritis

        Dogs with gastroenteritis can appear completely normal. They may not exhibit any symptoms other than a change in the quality, amount, frequency, or placement of their feces. As previously stated, dogs with HGE will exhibit more visible symptoms.

        Because it’s impossible to predict if a dog’s health will worsen, veterinarian care should be sought in all episodes of diarrhea, especially in puppies, senior dogs, or small breed dogs that are more prone to dehydration. If your dog exhibits symptoms of vomiting, nausea, bleeding, discomfort, or lethargy, he or she must seek veterinary attention immediately.

        How Is Gastroenteritis Diagnosed?

        Gastroenteritis diagnosis is done via the process of exclusion.  Essentially, this implies that before establishing a generic diagnosis such as gastroenteritis, your veterinarian will rule out or remove alternative more serious causes of the clinical indications. A thorough medical history is the first step in diagnosing what is causing a dog’s vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and other accompanying clinical indications.

        Among the most important pieces of information in your dog’s medical history are:

        • Your dog’s current diet, how much and how frequently you feed your dog
        • Everything your dog ate or drank in the last 48 hours
        • Any new meals, treats, or incentives.
          Any recent exposure to pesticides, drugs, cleaning agents, or other new materials in your house.
        • Any recent contact with a new animal or human.
          Previous bouts of vomiting and diarrhea (including their cause and treatment).
        • Any disease that occurred within the last month.
        • Any chronic ailments that your dog may be suffering from.
        • Any drugs, vitamins, or supplements used in the previous month

        Your veterinary health team may have you fill in a questionnaire prior to your visit. 

        Following the completion of the medical history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination. Your veterinarian will examine your pet for signs of dehydration, belly discomfort or soreness, bloating or gas, swellings, or any other physical anomaly. The temperature of your dog, as well as other vital indicators (heart rate and respiration rate), will be recorded.

        Diagnostic testing will be advised at this point, and may include:

        • The presence of dehydration and infection is indicated by a complete blood cell count (CBC).
        • Serum chemistry and electrolytes – identifies organ system abnormalities as well as electrolyte imbalances caused by vomiting and diarrhea.
        • Urinalysis identifies urinary tract infections, renal illness, dehydration, urine glucose for diabetics, and other conditions.
        • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays) are used to look for gastric (stomach) or intestinal obstructions, as well as other abnormalities.
        • Ultrasound of the abdomen to search for intestinal blockages or other abnormalities.

        How Is Gastroenteritis Treated?

        female vet giving a boston terrier a pill

        The principal treatment of gastroenteritis is rehydration and restoration of blood electrolyte balance (sodium, potassium, and/or chloride). Depending on the degree of dehydration, this fluid replacement will be given orally, subcutaneously (beneath the skin), or by intravenous (IV) treatment.

        Medical treatment may also include:

        • Antidiarrheal drugs may be used to alter intestinal motility (activity) after intestinal obstruction or other mechanical and anatomical issues have been ruled out. If your dog is experiencing severe colitis, motility-modifying agents are generally not recommended.
        • Anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) medications, for example, maropitant (brand name Cerenia®) or metoclopramide (brand name Reglan®) may be given to your dog.
        • Gastrointestinal protectants are used to prevent stomach ulcers, for example, famotidine (brand name Pepcid®) or ranitidine (brand name Zantac®).

        Food is often withheld during the initial stages of treatment for 24-48 hours and then slowly reintroduced. Small, frequent feedings of a highly digestible, low fat diet are generally prescribed. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best diet to feed your dog for a speedy recovery.

        What Is The Prognosis For Gastroenteritis?

        The majority of instances of acute gastroenteritis improve quickly following rehydration. Call your veterinarian if the vomiting and diarrhea do not improve dramatically within 48 hours of therapy.

        Gastroenteritis is a prevalent problem in veterinary medicine. Early detection and treatment are critical to restoring your dog to their usual healthy state as soon as possible. Please contact your veterinarian if you have any more questions or concerns.