Gastrinoma in Dogs
These tumors can appear so rapidly that it can be a horrifying experience

Gastrinoma in dogs has no known specific cause, no prevention, and is one on the most serious conditions that could ever strike your dog.

When it first attacks, it can lead to vomiting, blood in your dog’s stool, and then a gradual or very sudden weakness.

Once this occurs, your dog can very easily go into shock. The next phase of this condition can be the sudden death of your dog.

What makes this condition even worse is that the long term prognosis is in almost all cases extremely poor, as it that serious.


Gastrinoma is a malignant tumor of your pets pancreas and the human form of this condition is called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

This tumor secretes a hormone called gastrin which stimulates the acid secretion in your dog’s stomach.

As a result of this stimulation, it causes gastrointestinal ulcerations.

This condition primarily affects middle aged to older dogs and it has absolutely no breed preference.

Husky eyesGastrinoma in dogs can easily be confused with kidney failure

It attacks all dogs with equal fury.

These tumors can appear very rapidly in your dog, but in most cases they will grow slowly.

As they invade the surrounding sites in the pancreas, they may also start to metastasize very rapidly and widely throughout their body.

The symptoms will vary from dog to dog as some dogs show no immediate symptoms, while other may need immediate intensive support.

If you dog has any chance at all of surviving this killer, the earlier you do spot any symptoms the better chance they have of possibly surviving it.


The symptoms of Gastrinoma in dogs can be vastly different in dogs, depending on how wide spread this malignant tumor is in their body.

They can range from very mild initial symptoms, to life threatening situation before you have any idea what has actually hit them.

The first set of symptoms in most every case will be a gradual or a very sudden vomiting. This vomiting may be accompanied with or without blood, as well as the next symptom, which is diarrhea.

But one of the telling signs that your dog has something seriously wrong is a condition referred to as melena.

This is a situation where the stool of your dog will be almost black in color and simulates tar in appearance, but it is actually digested blood.

The next set of symptoms will be a severe pain in your dog’s abdomen, which is then followed by the loss of appetite. But this is no normal loss of appetite, as it will become almost instant anorexia.

Anorexia is common in cats as they can be very picky eaters, but it is extremely uncommon in dogs as they will normally eat almost anything in their sight.

This is than followed by a rapid loss of weight and this weight loss is extremely dangerous as most of the loss is fluids.

Your dog can stop eating food for days without doing much harm, but if they lose over ten percent of their body fluids, it can be catastrophic.

The next series of symptoms of Gastrinoma in dogs may be a very sudden development of pale mucus membranes, signaling they are on the verge of a stroke.

All of these conditions will than cause your dog to become very weak and they will collapse in most cases. If the tumor is severe enough, it can cause your dog to go into shock.

Once this occurs, if emergency medical treatment is not immediately administered, your dog may pass very rapidly.


Gastrinoma in dogs is not nearly as common as other similar conditions, and it can easily be confused with gastrointestinal ulceration's from other causes.

Kidney failure or a liver disease may also produce the same early symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea; and stress or fear can also simulate low blood pressure which can cause your dog to go into shock.

But perhaps the most confusing condition is pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of your pets pancreas, and it the most common cause of gastrointestinal ulcerations.

Pancreatitis is also extremely dangerous to your dog, but not anywhere near as wicked as this condition.


Gastrinoma in dogs can be initially treated by eliminating the acid secretion as well as trying to control the tumor.

However it is not the definitive form of treatment, as it may only provide a temporary relief in your dog.

This is most often done by withholding food and water from your dog in order to allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest.

A complete diet restriction in most cases will allow the GI track to temporally heal, and then an introduction of food that is very bland may be instituted once the tumor has been treated; if it can be treated.

There are also some drugs that we use to reduce stomach acid such as Pepcid and Tagamet, but they should only be used with veterinarian care.

Your dog may also need to have both fluid and an electrolyte treatment done to replace the loss fluids and correcting the dehydration, as this is also threatening their lives at this point.

However, the only effective long term treatment will be surgery to remove the tumor if it is operable.

This will all depend on how fast it has metastasized and spread and this will have to be a decision that is discussed thoroughly with your veterinarian.

They will also have to remove the area that is hemorrhaging as well, as it may not be responding to any type of treatment.


Gastrinoma in dogs, unlike several other conditions that can be prevented by a very strong immune system, has absolutely no known preventive measures to date that have any proof of being successful.

This is a very wicked tumor and even if it is successfully removed, the chances of it coming back are very high.

The long term prognosis once it has attacked your dog is very poor.

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