Chronic Gastritis in Dogs

Chronic Gastritis in Dogs

Health & Safety

When dogs develop chronic gastritis, it describes a condition that sees them vomiting intermittently over a period, which is usually for around two weeks or so. This causes inflammation of the stomach and results in the lining becoming irritated. There are many reasons why this might happen which a vet would need to investigate. Should a dog be subjected to long-term exposure to any sort of allergens, it can turn into an immune-mediated problem which in short means a dog's anti-bodies start attacking its own body and this in turn can lead to them suffering from chronic gastritis.

The Causes

As previously mentioned, a dog can develop chronic gastritis for several reasons which could include having been exposed to the following:

  • Chemical irritants
  • A foreign body
  • Longer term hyperacidity syndromes
  • Medication and drugs
  • Long-term exposure to allergens

Breeds Most at Risk

Studies have shown that certain smaller breeds and older dogs are more predisposed to developing the condition than others and this includes the following breeds:

  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shih tzu
  • Miniature Poodle

However, some larger breeds are also known to be more at risk of developing chronic gastritis too and this includes the following breeds:

  • Basenji
  • Drentse Patrijshond

Symptoms to Watch Out For

When dogs suffer from chronic gastritis, there are certain symptoms to watch out for which includes the following:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of weight
  • Faeces are black and tarry looking
  • Vomit is tinged a green colour which is bile that comes from a dog’s gall bladder
  • Vomit contains undigested food and may be flecked with blood
  • Food that dog's sick up can have the appearance of ground coffee

As the condition worsens, the number of times a dog vomits increases considerably as does the irritation and inflammation of their stomach lining. It’s worth noting that the urge to vomit typically occurs whenever a dog drinks or eats.

The Causes

The primary cause of chronic gastritis is inflammation of a dog's stomach and stomach lining. However, the underlying causes of why a dog develops the condition could also be for the following reasons:

  • Being fed an incorrect diet and food
  • An adverse reaction to certain medication or drugs
  • A metabolic endocrine disease that has taken hold in the body
  • Infections whether viral, bacterial or parasitic

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told how the onset of any symptoms first manifested themselves. They would thoroughly examine a dog that's suspected of suffering from chronic gastritis and would typically recommend carrying out the following tests which would help confirm a diagnosis and eliminate any other underlying health issues:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full chemical blood profile
  • A urinalysis

All these tests would help a vet establish if a dog is dehydrated and whether they need to be given fluids to help restore the balance. The tests would also determine if a dog has lost any blood and therefore need to be given a blood transfusion. They also help determine whether a dog’s condition is a long-term problem or whether the underlying cause is any of the following:

  • A compromised immune system
  • Liver disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Diseased internal organs

Other tests a vet might recommend carrying out could include the following:

  • Abdominal X-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • An abdominal biopsy
  • An endoscopy
  • Faecal floatation test to determine if there is a parasite overload

Should the vet find that a dog has a foreign object lodged somewhere in their digestive tract, they may have to surgically remove it to resolve the problem.

Treatment Options

Should a dog's condition be mild and caught early enough, they can usually be treated as outpatients. However, if a dog has become dehydrated and their condition is deemed severe, a vet would want to keep them hospitalised so they can be given fluids to restore their balance. The vet would also need to know if a dog has had a reaction to any medication they have been prescribed and as such, care must be taken as to what kind of drugs a dog can be given to correct the problem.

Living with a Dog with Chronic Gastritis

Care must be taken when it comes to a dog's diet if they have suffered and have been treated for chronic gastritis. The vet would also usually recommend a special diet which would help speed up a dog's recovery time. Dogs need to be closely monitored during this time and as such a weekly visit to the vet so they can have their blood count checked is advisable. Should a dog need further veterinary care or their medication changed in any way, this can be assessed during their weekly check-ups. A dog’s movements should be restricted during their recovery period which means limiting the amount of exercise they are given on daily basis. Dogs recovering from chronic gastritis should be fed several smaller meals a day rather than one or two large ones.



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