Gastritis in dogs is one of the most common canine aliments worldwide, and is one of the leading causes of vomiting and diarrhea.
In some cases, this ailment may be very mild and actually be self-limiting but it can also be extremely dangerous.
If it is severe enough, it can be debilitating to your dog, and as a result will require both hospitalization as well as intensive care.
If this is the case and it is not treated, it could very easily take your dog’s life.
Gastritis in dogs is an inflammation of the stomach lining and it can and does cause both acute as well as chronic vomiting.
However, it also can cause diarrhea, weakness, as well as a very sudden weight loss.
It can also lead to melena, which is much more serious than diarrhea, as well as a total loss of appetite.
As any owner knows, your dog will eat literally anything in sight, so when they totally lose their appetite, something is very wrong with them.
Gastritis comes in two different types, and has several potential underlying causes with each.
However, although your dog’s very non-selective eating habits are often the cause of this condition; it is a misconception that it is the only cause.
In fact, there could be nothing further from the truth.
All dogs will experience gastritis several times in their life, especially if they do get into trash quite often.
However once it persists and does not go away in a few days, it has now escalated into a potential emergency.
When dealing with gastritis in dogs, it is very important for an owner to understand the difference between acute and chronic.
However, it will also be important to separate it from regurgitation.
Regurgitation is a backward flow of not only undigested food, but also a natural expulsion of fluid as well as mucus.
The first type of gastritis in dogs is the acute form, and it is best described when the symptoms last seven days or less.
The first potential cause of this form is the most obvious; something that your dog has eaten.
This could include spoiled food as well as simply overeating, but it can be the result of something foreign that your dog has ingested.
It may also the result of something in their diet that they are allergic to or just cannot tolerate for some reason.
However, it may also be the result of some type of a toxin or chemical that they have accidentally eaten.
This could include several types of cleaning agents as well as some types of fertilizers, but it can also include anything with lead in it.
Lead can be extremely dangerous to your dog, even in very small amounts.
It may also be the first warning signs of a reaction to a drug of some kind, especially aspirin, steroids, or antibiotics in some cases.
Viral, bacterial, as well as parasitic infections can also trigger gastritis in dogs, as well as a systemic infection such as sepsis.
Chronic gastritis in dogs is described as vomiting and or diarrhea that have lasted more than seven to ten days.
The chronic form is much more dangerous, as in most cases your dog may have had a long term exposure to any of the potential causes of the acute form.
However, there are two other possible causes; IBD or stomach cancer.
IBD or Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition where the intestine in your dog is chronically inflamed by cells. It is best described by certain cells that invade the wall of your dog’s stomach or intestine.
In most every case, these cells are associated with inflammation, which is your dog’s natural reaction to some type of an injury or attack.
However, the chronic form of gastritis may also be the result of stomach cancer. There are also some systematic diseases that can cause both acute as well as chronic gastritis in dogs.
These include kidney failure, ulcers, or some type of liver disease.
The symptoms of gastritis disease in dogs are very easy to identify. The most obvious symptom is excess vomiting that may or may not contain blood.
If it does contain blood, it can be either reddish in color or it may be brown and closely resemble coffee grinds.
Once the symptoms start, your dog will start to loss their appetite and thus lose weight.
As a result of this, they are also beginning to become very weak as diarrhea will also be occurring. However, there is usually one other symptom that you will see; melena.
Melena is passages of black and very tarry like stools by your dog that are composed largely of blood.
What makes this condition even more dangerous for your dog is that this activation may be the result of gastric juices.
This usually implies bleeding in the upper intestines of your dog.
Gastritis in dogs has several very effective treatments, but only if it is caught in the early stages.
The first form of treatment will be to totally remove your dog’s food as well as their water for at least ten to twelve hours.
Although this may not make a lot of sense, especially the water, it allows your dog’s stomach to completely rest and helps to prevent any further irritations.
If your dog is still vomiting, you can provide them with small amounts of water frequently to prevent any further dehydration.
However, if the vomiting continues for more than twenty four hours, it is time to see your veterinarian.
At this point, your dog is in jeopardy and only your veterinarian can treat them. They will have to re-hydrate your dog by either subcutaneous or intravenous methods.
With the subcutaneous method, your veterinarian will insert a needle under their skin where it will accumulate. This allows your dog’s body to do two things; absorb the water but also re-hydrate the cells.
If the intravenous method is used, it is usually considered more serious, and electrolytes will be added.
When both the vomiting and diarrhea is severe, restoring the electrolyte balance is critical for your dog.
In severe cases, medications may also be utilized, but this will all depend on the actual cause, if it can be found.
There are two medications that are typically used, but it is extremely important that they not be used without the advice or direct supervision of a professional.
Antiemetics will help to stop your dog from vomiting, and antacids will help to coat their stomach.
When your dog is ready to eat again, they will have to be given a very bland diet and in very small amounts.
One of the best bland diets is white rice with either chicken or turkey burger ground up in small pieces.
Chicken broth in small amounts will make in much more palatable for your dog, and it will accomplish two very important things.
First, it is very easy to digest, and second, it will not upset your dog’s stomach.This will usually have to be done for about two weeks in most cases.
As your dog improves, adding more rice to the mixture now combined with some of their regular food will get your dog back to normal.
Surgery is only used as a last resort, and this usually involves some type of a blockage that has occurred.
Gastritis in dogs can be very mild and may resolve itself after a few days. It is also one of the most common problems that any dog will face, regardless of how protective you are.
Dogs are dogs and they will eat anything if given the opportunity.
The key is identifying it early and then treating it quickly.