Esophagitis in dogs can cause your dog to salivate excessively, persistently gulp, and perhaps one of the most dangerous signs your dog will ever demonstrate; coughing.
As it increases in severity, it will also develop into a situation where your dog can not swallow properly, which can very easily lead to anorexia in your dog.
It also has two different forms; primary and reflex.
The actual definition of esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus, and it is generally caused by some type of a physical irritant.
These irritants will than cause spasms and obstructions that are quickly followed with a difficulty in swallowing or palpation.
It can also lead to slow forms of regurgitation that can eventually cause blood in your saliva.
The actual causes of esophagitis in dogs will vary depending on which type it is. In the primary form of this condition, it is most often caused by frequent vomiting.
There is some in the medical community that will suggest that esophagitis causes the vomiting, but the overall consensus is that frequency in vomiting is what actually triggers the condition.
Any type of ingestion of a chemical or an irritant can also trigger esophagitis as it will very quickly cause inflammation.
The next potential cause is from a Hiatal hernia, which is a where a part of the stomach actually protrudes through the esophageal opening of your dog’s diaphragm.
The cancer may also be cancer or a tumor of the esophagus, or some type of a foreign object that has become logged.
Reflux esophagitis in dogs is also an inflammation of the esophagus, but it is caused by the backward flow of gastric or intestinal fluid that has entered into your dog’s esophagus.
This fluid will than begin to irritate the esophagus, and as a result causes both inflammation as well as ulceration.
This form may also be caused by frequent vomiting, cancer, or a Hiatal hernia, but it is not the most common cause.
The most common cause of reflux esophagitis is the result of a recent operation and the proper techniques may have not been applied during the anesthesia process.
If your dog is not positioned properly during the anesthesia or if they did not fast properly prior to the process, it can very easily develop into reflux esophagitis after the process.
Young dogs are much more subject to this form as they may have a weak esophageal sphincter muscle that can set it off.
The symptoms esophagitis in dogs, with either form, are very similar. The first sign that you will see that your dog is developing this condition will be an increase in their salivation process.
All dogs will salivate, and large barrel chest dogs are notorious for salivation, but when you see this you will know it.
Even in a larger dog, it will be much more than normal.
If this does occur, watch very close for the next symptom, which will be gulping. Again, all dogs will occasionally gulp, but with esophagitis the gulping will become either persistent or excessive, or both.
By now your dog will begin having difficulty is swallowing, which can be very dangerous as it can quickly lead to anorexia.
Cats are notorious for being picking eaters and developing anorexia, but your dog is not a cat.
As any owner can attest to, most dogs given the opportunity will eat almost anything. If they gradually stop eating, they most likely have developed esophagitis.
Regurgitation in any excessive amounts is also a symptom, but perhaps the most chilling of all symptoms is when your dog starts to cough.
Coughing in dogs is never normal under any circumstance, and it indicates that your dog has something seriously wrong.
There are several different forms of treatments for esophagitis in dogs, and it will be geared by your veterinarian to correct the underlying cause if it can be found.
In some cases, it may never be found, but there are still ways you can treat your dog.
The first form of treatment may be in the form of gastric acid inhibitors to help block the acid secretion in your dog’s stomach.
This will diminish the amounts of acid in your dog’s stomach, helping to reduce the vomiting or the regurgitation.
It may be surprising to some owners, but the treatments will be in the same form of treatments used for people.
They will be what is referred to as H2 receptor antagonists and will include Tagamet, Pepcid, or Prilosec.
Suspension liquids may also be used to both help smooth as well as coat your dog’s stomach and esophagus.
If the esophagitis has become severe and the actual cause is from a foreign object or growth, surgery may be needed to remove it.
If your dog is about to undergo any type of an operation where anesthesia may be used, you may want to discuss this in detail with your veterinarian.
Ask them about this condition, how your dog will be positioned, and follow their instructions very carefully about fasting prior to the operation.
However, in the vast majority of all cases of esophagitis in dogs, the major form of treatment will be diet modifications.
The actual diet that your dog eats will vary by breed and other general specifics.
However, the importance with this condition is more of frequency and timing than the actual diet.
Dogs with this condition must be fed smaller meals more frequently.
It is will also be extremely important that you do not feed your dog late at night with this condition.
Dogs with this condition are much be susceptible to reflux if have a full stomach when they relax.
Esophagitis in dogs can lead to some very serious and potentially dangerous health concerns if it is not caught and treated.
The good news is that if you watch for the symptoms and catch them early, it is very easy to treat and correct.
But if your dog is going to have any type of an operation that will involve anesthesia, make sure you ask your veterinarian all of the right questions.