Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 526 quotes ranging from $200 - 2,000

Average Cost

$800

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What is Acid Reflux?

In healthy upper digestive systems, the stomach’s sphincter valve closes to prevent the digestive fluids from refluxing upward. However, the fluids seem to pass this sphincter when the acids residing in the stomach become too great, which is usually caused by dietary influenced gastritis. Overtime, the feline’s esophagus becomes inflamed and painful, a condition veterinarians term esophagitis. The smooth tissues become scarred and narrowed, and tighten to protect the acids from further damaging the esophagus, forever affecting the cat’s ability to easily consume food.

Acid reflux in cats is a condition in which fluids within the stomach flow upward into the esophagus. Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, veterinarians do not know the exact cause of this chronic disease, but hypotheses have been made. The up flow of stomach acid chronically irritates the esophagus lining, medically termed mucosa, causing clinical signs of regurgitation. 

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Cats

Symptoms of acid reflux in cats mimic the clinical signs associated with human acid reflux disease. Vets assume a feline feels the same heartburn sensation paired with the feeling of a throat obstruction, which is why they display clinical signs similar to that of humans. Although the way a cat feels cannot be determined, cats do display clinical signs of acid reflux that clue pet owners in to an underlying problem. Symptoms of acid reflux in cats include: 

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss 
  • Pain upon swallowing (noted by vocalization or pawing at the neck)
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Salivation 
  • Drooling 
  • Frequent vomiting 
  • Chronic non-productive cough 
  • Chronic nasal discharge 
  • General discomfort 
  • Change in the nature of the meow

Causes of Acid Reflux in Cats

Acid reflux can affect cats of any breed, any sex or age, although acid reflux has been reported in more young cats than older felines. Felines that eat table scraps or have a diet that constantly changes are more prone to developing acid reflux than a feline that is fed a properly balanced diet. Acid reflux is also found in felines that are diagnosed with chronic vomiting and hairballs. Veterinarians have also hypothesized the possibility of a hiatal hernia being one underlying cause, as this hernia causes a tear in the feline’s diaphragm. Anesthesia is known to cause acid reflux in felines for a period of time following surgery, but this form of acid reflux is usually temporary and resolves on its own with time.

Diagnosis of Acid Reflux in Cats

Following a thorough review of your cat’s medical history and performing a physical exam, the veterinarian will proceed to perform logical diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of the problem. The veterinarian will likely request the following diagnostic tests: 

  • A CBC (Complete Blood Cell Count): blood test used to evaluate the number of circulating platelets, red and white blood cells. 
  • A biochemistry profile: a blood test that provides information on the level of electrolytes and gastrointestinal enzymes the feline is producing. This blood test also indicates the functionality of the cat’s organs and overall internal health. 
  • Urinalysis: examination of the urine to screen for infection, metabolic conditions and damage to the kidneys. 
  • Radiographs: thoracic (chest) x-rays of the chest containing the heart, lungs and upper digestive tract, and abdominal x-rays of the abdominal cavity. 
  • Endoscopy: the use of a fiber-optic camera placed inside the esophagus, lower airways, or trachea for evaluation purposes. 

Treatment of Acid Reflux in Cats

The treatment goal of acid reflux in cats is to address the underlying cause and protect the esophagus from further damage. Your veterinarian will likely recommend a dietary change, focusing on low-protein sources and feeding small, frequent meals. By decreasing your cat’s dietary intake, the esophageal sphincter can strengthen while the acids residing in the stomach will be decreased.  Additionally, the veterinarian may prescribe an antacid to reduce the amount of acids the stomach produces. He or she may also recommend a mucosal protectant to prevent further damage to the esophagus. A common esophageal mucosal protected medication is sucralfate. Lastly, drug therapy to improve the esophageal sphincter’s tone is often prescribed to cats with acid reflux, as it is beneficial to correcting the problem. 

Recovery of Acid Reflux in Cats

It may take a few weeks to a few months for a cat to fully recover from the symptoms of acid reflux. Acid reflux in itself may not be curable, but the symptoms can be managed with the prescribed medications to reduce stomach acid and protect the esophagus from further damage. Dietary changes and other recommendations made by your veterinarian should be followed exactly to gain the best prognosis possible for your cat.

Acid Reflux Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Tom
Persian
Four Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Frequent regurgitation

My cat has been throwing up for the past year. It’s never hairballs, usually just food, sometimes digested and sometimes not. Sometimes it’s even just transparent slime. At some point it would be as much as twice a day, others maybe once every few weeks. He has done countless tests and even a sonar as well as taking various medications but nothing ever helped. I live in Egypt and veterinarians here aren’t that great so please don’t advise me to visit one yet again. Thank you in advance.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
There are various causes of vomiting, all with different approaches to treatment so there is no one quick fix for this; causes include food sensitivity, infections, parasites, acid reflux, poisoning, hairballs (already mentioned by you), hormonal conditions, foreign objects, tumours among other causes. It would be useful to try to feed Tom in small regular portions throughout the day (like three or four times per day) so that the stomach isn’t empty and acid doesn’t accumulate; other than that, I cannot recommend anything else as I am unable to examine him. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/health_information/vomiting.cfm

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Lily
mixed
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

My cat was recently diagnosed with gastric valve disease and was given two shots and two antibiotics which seemed to help for a week or so but is recently sick again and can't hold any food down.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
If Lily is continuing to have trouble after the effects of the medicine have worn off, you should return to your Veterinarian for a discussion of the condition along with the results of the physical examination. Acid reducers may help, but I would recommend you speak again with your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Smokey Joe
Siamese
9 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Regurgitation

Smokey Joe has always eaten dry food. Now he is strictly indoors so I feed him Iams indoor/hairball formula. In the last six months or so, after he eats he acts like he is going to regurgitate the food, but then nothing. Could he have acid reflux? Could introducing wet food for sensitive stomachs help? Thank you!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
There are various causes for this symptom and if a change of food correlates to the symptom then it may be worth trying about food (like the one mentioned) to see if there is any improvement. If Smokey Joe is still having some issues you should have him checked over by your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Daisy
tabby
21 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Omeprazole

My cat is 21 years old and has acid reflux. The vet prescribed her 1/4 pill of Omeprazole daily, and I can't get her to eat it. She hates the taste. I've tried treats, I've tried covering it in other human foods she likes. I even tried to ground it up and mix it into her favorite wet cat food. But she won't eat it. I have even gone as far as putting the pull in her mouth and basically non harshly forcing her to eat it, but she just throws it back up. I'm lost and don't know what to do. When she's not on the medicine she throws you constantly, and I feel so bad. How can I help or is there another way to get her to take this pill? Or is there a different medicine I can feed her?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations
The problem with omeprazole and other similar medications is that they were developed for humans and can be chalky for animals; there are other options available like a flavoured oral liquid from a compounding pharmacy (liket the link below) which may be better for you, but you would need a prescription from your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.svpmeds.com/product/omeprazole-20mgml-flavored-oral-liquid-compounded-for-dogs-and-cats/

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poppy
Tabby
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

No appetite
Vomiting
Sleepy

Poppy has been throwing up blood tinged liquid. She started around one and a half to two weeks ago. She hardly eats (even though she loves food), and sleeps all day. Even more than normal. She is normal very lively, though she hardly touches her favorite toys now. We took her to our vet, and they said her stomach got irritated by grass, and gave her acid reflux. We have been giving her carafate suspension and laxatone, but she isn't better. She is a quick healer, and we are starting to get worried. What can we do to help our little girl?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations

I would return to your Veterinarian as you would have seen improvement already if it was a simple case of gastric irritation. Foreign bodies, infections, parasites, ulcers, poisoning etc… may all cause these symptoms; a further examination is required to help determine the underlying cause, your Veterinarian may require to perform an x-ray to rule out other causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Cali
mixed
6 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Throwing up

My cat has been throwing up blood tinged liquid for about 1 /12 years. Sometimes she will throw up her food as well and when she does that it comes up whole. I took her to the vet at that time, she was admitted over night for observation, she had blood work an exam and was given fluid. The next day she was sent home as they could not find anything wrong with her. I changed her food at that time to Wellness Complete Health Adult Health Salmon, Salmon Meal & Deboned Turkey Recipe Dry Cat Food thinking that might have been the problem. She was okay for a few months then started throwing up again. It is has been going on for awhile, some times it is days in a row, a few times a day and then she can go for a few weeks not throwing up at all. She acts normal before and after she throws up. I can always tell when it is going to happen because she will lick right before. She does not act sick at all, shes not lethargic, she runs around the house and plays. I am thinking it might be acid reflux.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1675 Recommendations

It is possible that Cali has acid reflux, you can try settling her stomach using Pepcid (famotidine) at a dose of 0.23mg/lb (0.5mg/kg) an hour before food to see if it stops the vomiting. If Cali continues to vomit, it maybe that she has a food intolerance or an allergy to something in her environment; try changing her food to boiled chicken and rice for a few days as it is a bland diet which isn’t irritating. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sonnie
American Shorthair
8 Years
Moderate
Has Symptoms
Vomiting
Sonnie has thrown up for years. It's always clearly regurgitated food (rather than a mystery mess, digested food, or bile). He maintains a healthy weight. I've tried different foods to rule out allergies (the current one for the last 6 months being Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry) but he still vomits once a day to every other day. I've seen two vets. One said "some cats just vomit." I took him to another 4 months ago who ran blood tests then told me he's fine and didn't wish to discuss ideas with me further. My employer recently mentioned her dog throws up when his acid reflux is bad and I hoped maybe this was the answer. My only concern dietary-wise is that he has a history of developing crystals in his urine. Will a low protein diet put him back at risk of crystals?