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What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous condition caused by the contents of the stomach repeatedly entering the esophagus and returning to the stomach. This can cause erosion of the tissues in the esophagus in addition to increasing risk of esophageal ulcers. It can be difficult to observe this condition in dogs, as it is an internal sensation not easily visualized by behavior. Clues to determining if your pet might have gastric reflux involve peripheral symptoms, like persistent bad breath, burping or burbling after meals, and occasional weak vomiting.

If your pet exhibits these symptoms, schedule a veterinarian visit as soon as possible. While acid reflux on its own may not be serious, the intrusion of acid can irritate the esophagus, leading to narrowing, thinning or even necrosis. Additionally, passive regurgitation can cause vomit to enter the lungs, where it can cause severe damage.

Acid reflux is the entry of acid and digestive enzymes from the stomach into the esophagus. This may be caused by abnormal weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, improper emptying of the stomach, and obesity. Certain medication such as prednisone can also can also increase susceptibility to acid reflux.

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Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Dogs

  • Gurgling or burping sounds after eating
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Weak vomiting or coughing accompanied by small amounts of vomit.
  • Whining while eating
  • Eating a bit, demonstrating discomfort, then resuming eating.
  • Wheezing
  • Excessive salivation
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Causes of Acid Reflux in Dogs

  • Excessive production of acid in the stomach
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Eating inappropriate food (i.e. spicy human food)
  • Obesity
  • High blood calcium
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Diagnosis of Acid Reflux in Dogs

If you notice your pet struggling to eat meals, exhibiting pain or discomfort during and after eating, having persistent bad breath or gurgling, see the veterinarian right away. If left untreated, acid reflux can cause many additional complaints.

A veterinarian may want to listen to your dog’s chest after a feeding to identify whether acid reflux might be occurring. If acid reflux is suspected, an endoscopy may be done. Endoscopy involves sedating the dog and viewing the esophagus with a camera on a long, flexible scope. This allows any ulcers, inflammation or tumors to be visualized and identified. A hiatal hernia is often the culprit in cases of acid reflux in dogs, and is a structural defect characterized by the top of stomach protruding through the diaphragm where the esophagus alone is meant to go. This can weaken the ability of the esophagus to close and allow acid to invade the esophagus.

Obesity can also be a major culprit- the increased fat masses can constrict the gastroesophogeal space and force acid up the esophagus. High blood calcium, detectable with a small blood sample, may also be contributing to excessive production of stomach acid.

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Treatment of Acid Reflux in Dogs

The most widely employed treatment is to feed your pet several small meals throughout the day of easily-digestible food like plain boiled chicken, rice, and blanched broccoli. Kibble can induce acid reflux if given dry, so making a “cereal” out of kibble by adding a cup of water can help, but if the condition persists, switching to more hydrated food like chicken and broccoli is often helpful.

In rare cases surgical intervention may be required to correct serious hernias or ulcers. This will depend on the nature of the underlying condition and the severity of the presentation. It may be possible to perform the surgery endoscopically, which is minimally invasive and usually holds a swift recovery. Any anomalous growths should be biopsied and tested for cancer.

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Recovery of Acid Reflux in Dogs

Feeding your pet less food more frequently, managing weight in the case of obesity, and varying your pet’s diet with healthy alternatives is often curative. In the case of an ulcer or tumor, outlooks will vary based on the specific condition and treatment regimen. In general, acid reflux is a manageable, if occasionally uncomfortable condition. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to supplement these efforts.

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Cost of Acid Reflux in Dogs

Treating acid reflux can be as simple as changing your dog’s food, or as major as surgery. Most veterinarians will recommend changing your dog’s diet to boiled chicken, rice, and/or blanched broccoli in order to sufficiently reduce the acid reflux. These meals should be given in small amounts throughout the day. The cost of these items will vary depending on your local grocery store prices.  If your veterinarian allows you to continue feeding normal kibble, adding water to make a “cereal” would make things easier. In this case there is no additional cost to the normal price of the kibble you already buy. There are cases where surgery is necessary. In these cases, the veterinarian can usually fix the problem endoscopically to check for hernias or ulcers. This surgery can cost $2,200 to $3,300. If there are any abnormal growths found then the veterinarian will biopsy them and test them for cancer. This can cost between $160 and $250. If cancer is found, the veterinarian will need to proceed with the appropriate cancer treatment which will vary in cost.

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Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

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Acid Reflux Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Poh

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Pomeranian

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9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomitting Foam, Loss Of Apitite,
Vomitting

My Dog is 9 months old Culture Pomeranian. He is vomitting white and yellow foam in the morning since the past 3 days. I am not able to take him to the vet yet and trying to give light food like boiled rice. He has been having ticks lately and small red areas around the tick bites. could this be related ? please suggest cure

Aug. 8, 2018

Poh's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If you’re seeing a characteristic bullseye tick bite you should visit your Veterinarian regardless to check Poh for tick borne diseases; the vomiting of white and yellow foam may be related, however I cannot legally prescribe any antibiotics or other prescription medications without examining Poh first and you should visit your Veterinarian for a check. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 8, 2018

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Dragon

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Poodle mix

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Occasional Vomiting Runny Stool

Hello, I have a 2 year old, 11lbs. poodle mix. It seems like at least once a month he vomits yellow stomach acid 2-4 times and always between 3-4am. He also has runny stool. This lasts for about a week, then bowl movements return to normal. Through the changes he NEVER looses his activity level (very hyper), thirst and hunger. I have taken him to the vet and done blood work and everything shows normal. I am growing concern there is a bigger issue but hoping it might be something minor like IBS. He eats about a 3/4 cup if not less of blue buffalo dry food mixed with plain grilled chicken, three times daily. When he has this symptoms I add rice. PLEASE HELP!

April 26, 2018

Dragon's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Without knowing more about Dragon, I have a hard time commenting on what might be causing this problem, but some dogs do have very sensitive stomachs, and he may benefit from a 'sensitive stomach' dog food. There are many available at pet stores. If you do transition his food, do it gradually over about 3-4 days so he doesn't have a problem. If his vomiting persists, it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, as he may have a parasite or other condition that needs treatment. I hope that all goes well for him.

April 26, 2018

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Acid Reflux Average Cost

From 42 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$900

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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