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Gastritis in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Treatment In-depth

In cases of acute gastritis, symptomatic therapy is often the mainstay of treatment, as most of these cases generally respond quickly and thoroughly. These treatments may reduce severity of symptoms or provide relief for your dog. However, nonspecific therapy is not a substitute for definitive treatment of the underlying disease responsible for your dog's condition, which is the situation in some cases of acute gastritis and most cases of chronic gastritis.

  • Withholding food and water for several hours allows the GI tract to "rest", and is the single most important means of symptomatic therapy for the dog with gastritis. Complete dietary restriction allows the lining of the GI tract to heal. Gradual reintroduction of small amounts of bland food should be instituted after the fast, and the original diet may be slowly reintroduced after 2-3 days if there have been no signs of gastritis. If at any point gastritis recurs, discontinue everything given by mouth and contact your veterinarian.

  • Oral medication of any kind should be avoided if at all possible. Any contact with the stomach lining will potentially perpetuate inflammation.

  • Fluid and electrolyte therapy may be necessary in some dogs with acute gastritis, and is directed toward correcting dehydration, acid-base, and electrolyte abnormalities. Occasionally, subcutaneous (under the skin) administration may be acceptable, and may be able to be performed at home. In severe cases, intravenous administration may be indicated and necessitates hospitalization.

  • Antiemetics (drugs that stop vomiting) should be used with caution. Examples include Reglan® (metoclopramide) or Thorazine® (chlorpromazine). It is best to identify and treat the underlying cause of gastritis, however in selected cases their use may be recommended.

  • Antacids (drugs that decrease acid production by the stomach) such as Tagamet® (cimetidine), Pepcid® (famotidine) or Zantac® (ranitidine), may be of benefit in some cases.

  • Gastrointestinal protectants and adsorbents (medications that protect or sooth) are felt to coat an "irritated" gastrointestinal lining and bind "noxious" (harmful) agents. Examples include Carafate® (sucralfate) and Pepto-Bismol® (bismuth subsalicylate).

  • Antibiotics and parasiticides (medication that kills parasites) are indicated in cases of bacterial or parasite related gastritis.

  • Anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids, may be indicated in cases of documented inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Endoscopy or surgery may be indicated to remove foreign objects or tumors causing gastritis.

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