Gastritis in dogs: symptoms, causes, treatments, nutrition

Gastritis in dogs is defined as an inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach and is often manifested by vomiting.

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Dog gastritis: definition

Gastritis is defined as inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. It can appear suddenly: we then speak of acute gastritis or evolve over a long period, in the case of chronic gastritis.

Symptoms of gastritis in dogs

Gatritis is usually manifested by the appearance of vomiting, which marks an attack on the upper part of the digestive system. In case of rupture of a small blood vessel in the stomach, vomiting may be tinged with more or less digested blood, red to blackish-brown in color.

If the condition also affects the intestines, it may be accompanied by diarrhea that may contain blood (see gastroenteritis).

Gastritis is usually painful and can therefore be accompanied by prostration, salivary discharge or a "praying dog position" .

" The so-called dog prayer position, a position evoking pain"

In case of chronic gastritis, we can observe weight loss in the dog and signs of fatigue related to its refusal to eat (anorexia) and repeated vomiting.

Causes of gastritis in dogs

There are many causes of gastritis.

Causes of acute gastritis

Acute gastritis is usually food-borne. It can follow an overeating or the ingestion of spoiled food.

It can also be of drug origin. Some medications have the side effect of weakening the stomach lining and cause gastritis.

The ingestion of toxic foods or plants as well as indigestible foreign bodies can also cause acute gastritis.

In rarer cases, acute gastritis can be secondary to systemic diseases such as uremia in case of renal failure or sepsis.

The causes of chronic gastritis

Chronic inflammation of the stomach lining may be due to:

  • chronic infestation of the dog's digestive system by internal parasites (worms),
  • a food intolerance,
  • backflow of bile from the duodenum to the stomach,
  • colonization of the stomach by bacteria of the Helicobacter pylori type,
  • an infiltration of the stomach wall by lymphocytes and plasma cells (two varieties of white blood cells) in the context of a pathology called lymphoplasmacytic gastroenteritis,
  • a chronic inflammatory disease of the stomach and intestine that results in an infiltration of eosinophils (another variety of white blood cells) in the stomach wall. This disease is called eosinophilic gastroenteritis. It is relatively common in Shar Pei, Rottweilers and German Shepherds.

Treatment of gastritis in dogs

Medical treatment

The vomiting and pain that accompanies gastritis can be relieved by the prescription of antiemetic drugs and analgesics by a veterinarian. A gastric bandage and anti-secretory drugs (or antacids) will also protect the inner lining of the stomach damaged by the disease.

These drugs are part of a symptomatic treatment that does not treat the causes of gastritis but only its symptoms.

In addition to symptomatic treatment, other medications that address the causes of gastritis may be prescribed:

  • vermifuge in case of gastritis caused by digestive parasites,
  • antibiotics in case of stomach infection with bacteria,
  • anti-inflammatories in case of inflammatory diseases.

Gastritis caused by excess food or the ingestion of spoiled food will often lead the veterinarian to recommend resting the digestive system consisting of fasting for 24 to 48 hours.

A food intolerance causing gastritis can be solved by a change in diet.

Generally, the medical treatment of chronic gastritis is accompanied by dietary precautions.It is indeed preferable that dogs suffering from chronic gastritis receive highly digestible food in a fractional way, offered in small quantities several times a day.

Natural treatment for gastritis: the solutions

In addition to "traditional" medical treatment and on the advice of your veterinarian, you can relieve a dog suffering from gastritis by administering natural remedies based on:

  • lemon balm, known to relieve vomiting, diarrhea as well as digestive pain and spasms. It is particularly indicated in case of gastritis because it increases the secretion of mucus, this substance which lines the wall of the stomach and which protects it from acidity.
  • licorice, with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anti-gastric ulcer properties. Warning: liquorice is contraindicated in dogs with heart problems.
  • cranberry or cranberry, has antibacterial action. It prevents the adhesion of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, involved in gastritis, to the lining of the stomach.
  • turmeric, used for its anti-inflammatory properties and for its digestive action.

How to feed a dog sensitive to gastritis?

We know that the humidity of the meal, its temperature and its volume can have a beneficial effect on gastric emptying time. Thus, when a dog suffers from gastritis, it is better to give him a moist food at room temperature or slightly warmed, divided into several small meals to promote emptying of the stomach and limit inflammation.

Because of the many vomiting that can occur in the event of gastritis, it is often interesting to offer a food with more energy to the dog, which allows him to cover his daily energy requirement with the lowest possible volume of food and hyperdigestible, to maximize the nutritional intake of the small volume of food ingested.

The “ideal” nutritional profile of a food for a dog suffering from gastritis is a food with a limited protein content but containing highly digestible proteins, with a low fat and fiber intake. Generally, so-called "gastrointestinal" kibbles formulated to compensate for maldigestion in the dog can meet these nutritional objectives. Remember to moisten them well before feeding them to your pet suffering from gastritis!

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