Canine gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining, which may be caused by irritation, disease or damage. The condition is fairly common amongst dogs and rarely causes complications.
Cases of canine gastritis are considered either acute or chronic. Acute canine gastritis has a rapid onset but will usually clear up after 24-48, whilst chronic canine gastritis is a persistent condition that can indicate underlying health problems, such as a food intolerance.
There are many causes of canine gastritis, which can require a lengthy diagnosis process. Fortunately, the prognosis is good, especially for acute canine gastritis, which usually clears up after around 48 hours.
Medical attention is often unnecessary in cases of acute canine gastritis, however persistent vomiting (multiple times a day over 48 hours) indicates a need for veterinary attention.
Untreated severe acute gastritis can potentially lead to ulceration of the stomach, chronic gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome or other gastrointestinal disorders, so if you dog is vomiting persistently, be sure to seek veterinary advice.
Symptoms of Canine Gastritis
The most obvious symptom of canine gastritis, both acute and chronic, is vomiting. If you continue to notice these symptoms over a period of 48+ hours or if you dog is persistently vomiting, you should seek veterinary attention.
- Lack of appetite
- Blood in vomit or faeces
- Tender abdominal region
Dogs with chronic gastritis will display similar symptoms as above, but they will show noticeable weight loss and their coat may look dull due to a lack of vitamins and minerals.
If your dog has continued bouts of bloody diarrhoea, they may have hemorrhagic gastroenteritis – an inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining. Although this condition is treatable, it requires more urgent veterinary attention and may require IV fluid therapy.
Causes of Canine Gastritis
There are many potential causes of canine gastritis, but the majority of acute cases occur as a result of one or more of the following:
- Consumption of non-foodstuffs
- Consumption of spoiled food (moulds)
- Ingestion of toxins (either manmade, such as antifreeze, or natural, such as toxic plants)
The causes below can induce acute gastritis, but they may also be responsible for the development of chronic gastritis:
- Food allergies or intolerances
- NSAID treatment
- Metabolic diseases e.g. EPI (Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency)
- Bacterial, viral, fungal or parasitic infections e.g. Parvovirus, distemper
Treating Canine Gastritis
Many cases of acute canine gastritis do not require medical treatment. Withholding food for 24-48 hours, before slowly reintroducing may be all you need to do for your dog to help them get through the condition. Water should be made available however, although you try to avoid allowing your dog to consume a large amount in a single sitting.
The key to treating acute canine gastritis is rehydration and the rebalance of electrolytes as vomiting causes a loss of body fluid and electrolytes.
Be advised that you should visit your vet if your dog persistently vomits over the course of 24-48 hours. This likely indicates a more severe case that will need appropriate veterinary attention depending on the cause.
If your dog has developed a chronic case of canine gastritis, then your vet will run diagnostics to determine the underlying health issue that is responsible for your pet’s gastritis. As the cause could potentially be one of many things, treatment will likely differ on a case to case basis.
Whilst your dog recovers, you may wish to try a gastrointestianl health diet, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d. This type of commercial diet is formulated to be highly digestible for better gastrointestinal health and provides special dietary fibre to help nourish the cells in the gastrointestinal tract.