Gastritis in Dogs

Overview of Canine Gastritis

Gastritis is a general term used to describe inflammation of the lining of the stomach in a dog. The most common sign associated with gastritis is vomiting. Although signs may be mild and self-limiting in some cases, they can be debilitating and even life threatening in others, necessitating hospitalization and intensive supportive care. Acute gastritis is characterized by vomiting of less than 7 days duration. Chronic gastritis is characterized by intermittent vomiting of greater than 1-2 weeks duration. There are a variety of causes of gastritis, some associated with acute vomiting and some associated with chronic vomiting.

Below is an overview of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of gastritis followed by in-depth detailed information about gastritis in dogs.

Causes of Acute Gastritis

Causes of Chronic Gastritis

There are some systemic diseases that can be associated with both acute and chronic gastritis. Those include kidney failure, liver disease, hypoadrenocorticism, neurologic disease and ulcers. Both dogs and cats can be affected and males just as often as females. Due to the increased potential for dietary indiscretion in younger animals, they are more likely to develop acute gastritis. Chronic gastritis can be seen in all ages.

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Gastritis in Dogs

Many cases of acute gastritis are short lived, resolve easily, and an extensive diagnostic evaluation is seldom required. Diagnostics should be performed in those individuals whose gastritis is severe, chronic, or are exhibiting systemic signs of illness. A thorough history and physical examination is of paramount importance prior to diagnostic evaluation.

Treatment of Gastritis in Dogs

There are several things your veterinarian may recommend to symptomatically treat your dog. The principal goals of symptomatic therapy are to restore and maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, and to completely rest the gastrointestinal tract.

Home Care

The primary recommendation is to withhold all food and water until contacting your veterinarian. Administer medication and diet only as directed by your veterinarian and observe your dog very closely. If clinical signs are not improving, and/or your dog is getting worse, have your dog evaluated at once.

In-Depth Information on Gastritis in Dogs

Gastritis is quite common in dogs due to their indiscriminate (not selective) eating habits. It is not uncommon for a normal healthy dog to have occasional bouts of acute gastritis over the course of their life, especially if they are longhaired or have a habit of getting into the trash. As long as they are short lived and self limiting, we tend to consider these “normal abnormalities”. One must differentiate acute from chronic gastritis, as well as gastritis from regurgitation (the backward flow or effortless evacuation of fluid, mucus, or undigested food from the esophagus) as there are different diseases, diagnostics, and treatment plans for each.

In those dogs who are otherwise feeling well, symptomatic therapy, to include removing all food and water for a specified amount of time and gradually reintroducing a bland diet, is generally curative. If the dog continues with signs of gastritis (vomiting, lack of appetite, nausea), despite being held off food and water, or if blood is present in the vomitus, it is important to seek veterinary attention at once. In addition, if your dog seems painful, in distress or sick in any other way, you should contact your veterinarian immediately as diagnostics, hospitalization and supportive therapy may be in order.

There are several disorders/diseases that can cause similar signs and may be confused with gastritis. These include;

In-Depth Information on Diagnosis of Canine Gastritis

Your veterinarian may recommend additional tests to ensure optimal medical care. These are selected on a case-by-case basis.

In-Depth Information on Treatment of Canine Gastritis

Follow-up Care of Dogs with Gastritis

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve. Administer all prescribed medication as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your dog.

Discontinue/avoid any medication or substance that may be causing or exacerbating (worsening) gastritis. Depending on the underlying cause of gastritis, it may be necessary to return to your veterinarian for reevaluation of certain tests.