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Chronic Gastritis in Dogs

What Is Chronic Gastritis in Dogs?

Chronic gastritis in dogs refers to a condition where a dog consistently vomits over an extended period, usually once or twice daily for 7-14 days. It indicates an underlying illness and typically involves symptoms beyond mere vomiting, distinguishing it from occasional stomach upset due to dietary indiscretion.

There exist four types of gastritis in dogs:

  • Acute gastritis: This form arises suddenly, causing irritation and inflammation in the stomach. It often resolves without medical intervention.
  • Atrophic gastritis: This rare, chronic condition involves a reduction in the size or number of stomach glands over the long term.
  • Chronic hypertrophic gastritis: In this condition, certain tissues within the stomach thicken over time, indicating a long-term chronic issue.
  • Chronic eosinophilic gastritis: This type involves an abnormal increase in a specific type of white blood cells within the stomach tissues.

Symptoms

Symptoms of chronic gastritis in dogs encompass a range of indications, such as:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the intestinal tract, often appearing as black tarry stool or vomit resembling coffee grounds
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Poor hair coat
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance, potentially leading to weakness and imbalance

Causes

Causes of chronic gastritis in dogs vary, although it’s more frequently observed in cats than in dogs. Here are several reasons why a dog may develop chronic gastritis:

  • Dietary factors or medication: Chronic gastritis may arise from regular consumption of certain foods or medications, including supplements.
  • Underlying illnesses: Chronic gastritis can be associated with systemic diseases such as kidney or liver issues, as well as infections.
  • Immune-related disorders: Atrophic gastritis, though less common, may develop secondary to immune disorders, particularly observed in breeds like the Norwegian Lundehund.
  • Congenital factors: The root cause of chronic hypertrophic gastritis remains unknown but is believed to be congenital, potentially linked to histamine release. This condition is more prevalent in older, small-breed male dogs.
  • Other factors: Chronic gastritis can also stem from food allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, or hypereosinophilic syndrome, often affecting dogs under 5 years old, with predisposed breeds including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Shar-peis.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of chronic gastritis in dogs typically involves several stages and steps, often culminating in extensive testing before reaching a definitive conclusion.

Veterinarians usually initiate the diagnostic process with lab tests, including blood work such as a complete blood count and a biochemistry profile, along with fecal testing. During this initial phase, recommendations for food and medical trials are commonly made.

If vomiting persists despite initial interventions, veterinarians may suggest more advanced testing, such as endoscopy, which involves passing a camera down the esophagus into the stomach and upper intestinal tract, along with a biopsy. These procedures provide a clearer picture of the underlying issue, typically centered in the stomach, and allow for tissue sampling to gather more detailed information. In some cases, additional diagnostics may be necessary to achieve a conclusive diagnosis.

Treatment

The treatment for chronic gastritis in dogs primarily hinges on addressing the underlying cause. Typically, veterinarians recommend a specialized diet tailored to alleviate inflammation in the stomach, which may involve a prescription product formulated specifically for dogs with gastric issues. In certain cases, a homemade bland diet might be considered, but this decision should be made in consultation with your veterinarian.

In most instances, medication will be prescribed to help alleviate vomiting. This may include antiemetic or antinausea medications, along with acid reducers. Depending on the diagnosis, an alternative anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed to manage the condition effectively.

Living and Management

For certain dogs, the treatments outlined above may lead to a complete recovery, while others may require lifelong therapy to manage their symptoms effectively.

Preventing chronic gastritis in dogs primarily involves feeding them high-quality food, ensuring regular deworming, and maintaining a consistent, healthy diet tailored to their specific needs. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method for preventing chronic gastritis entirely.

Chronic Gastritis in Dogs FAQs

How long does chronic gastritis last in dogs?

Chronic gastritis entails regular vomiting, typically occurring daily for at least 7-14 days. Most dogs affected by chronic gastritis experience ongoing issues with vomiting.

What can I feed my dog with chronic gastritis?

Once the cause of chronic gastritis has been determined, your veterinarian will recommend the best diet for your dog. Many dogs will require a prescription product, although some may benefit from a temporary homemade bland diet.

What is the life expectancy of a dog with chronic gastritis?

With proper diagnosis and treatment, most dogs with chronic gastritis can expect a normal life expectancy.

Can stress cause chronic gastritis in dogs?

While dogs don’t experience stress in the same way humans do, anxiety in dogs can lead to gastric upsets, which over time could contribute to chronic gastritis. However, this scenario is more of an exception than a rule.

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