Gastritis in Dogs

Gastritis in dogs occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed. There are two types of gastritis in dogs: acute and chronic. While most cases are mild in nature, others can be severe and require immediate treatment. This is why it is important for dog owners to be aware of the signs of gastritis and know when to seek medical attention.

Gastritis Explained

The difference between acute gastritis and chronic gastritis is the timeline over which the symptoms occur. Symptoms lasting less than seven days can be defined as acute, meaning immediate and short-lived. When the symptoms last between one and two weeks, the condition is typically classified as chronic because it is ongoing.

Under normal conditions, the lining of the stomach aids in digestion by releasing substances to help break down food. It is also used as a protective shield to protect the rest of the body from the highly toxic acids found in the stomach. When the stomach lining becomes inflamed, it becomes less effective as a digestive aid and protector, sometimes causing life-threatening toxic conditions

Causes of Gastritis

Gastritis in dogs occurs when the lining of the stomach is exposed to irritants that cause it to become swollen and irritated. Most of the time this is due to ingestion of food or substances that are not meant to be ingested. However, some dogs are naturally more sensitive, and gastritis may be brought on by more normal foods.

Causes of gastritis include:

  • Ingestion of foreign materials (toxins, rotten food, plants)
  • Allergies
  • Table scraps and greasy foods
  • Certain medications

Although these are common causes of gastritis in dogs, acute gastritis occurs most commonly because of infection, which can be viral or bacterial.

Chronic gastritis in dogs usually happens when the causes of acute gastritis are carried on for long periods of time, such as consistently feeding a dog table scraps or using certain medications to treat a separate health condition.

Symptoms of Gastritis

The symptoms of gastritis in dogs are typically very noticeable. In cases of acute gastritis, the symptoms will present immediately and be completely unexpected. In cases of chronic gastritis, the symptoms will persist until the successful method of treatment is found.

Some of the symptoms of gastritis include:

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Gastritis

When gastritis in dogs is acute in nature, diagnostic testing is usually not needed. In general, the symptoms go away on their own, and no further medical attention is needed. When the symptoms persist beyond one week, however, it is time to seek medical evaluation.

Some of the testing methods that can be used to help identify gastritis in dogs include:

  • Blood test
  • X-rays of the abdomen

If a severe problem is suspected, a veterinarian may pursue an abdominal ultrasound as well.

The first step to treatment will be to ensure that the dog is adequately hydrated because hydration is lost during excessive episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. Intravenous fluid therapy may be needed to help restore this balance.

The next step is to reduce the working load on the lining of the stomach, which means enforcing a bland diet and avoiding irritating foods. In some cases, medications may also be given to help reduce the urge to vomit.