What is Long-Term Stomach Inflammation?
Occasional vomiting by your canine family member is not usually a great cause for concern unless it is accompanied by symptoms indicative of a serious problem. Chronic vomiting however, could mean that your pet is suffering from long-term stomach inflammation. Some of the causes for this problem are mucosal abnormalities, injury to the stomach lining, or infection. Treatment for gastritis will vary, depending on the underlying cause. Long-term stomach inflammation is a condition that should not be ignored as it could eventually turn into a situation without a cure.
Chronic inflammation of the stomach is known as gastritis in veterinary terms. Persistent inflammatory changes can lead to recurrent vomiting and abdominal pain for your pet. Controlling or eliminating the cause of the problem is a must in order to ensure your pet remains in good health.
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Symptoms of Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs
Intermittent or persistent vomiting that lasts 7 days or more is considered chronic. Although signs may appear as mild to start, long-term inflammation can lead to pain and damage to the stomach lining.
- Weight loss
- Black stool (melena)
- Bile, which could be mixed with fresh blood, food, and froth, and may have the appearance of coffee grounds
- Abdominal pain
Gastritis can be classified as below.
- Infiltration of the tissues and mucosa with lymphocytes (white blood cells) and plasma cells (white blood cells with antibodies)
- Infiltration of tissues and mucosa with white blood cells containing granules
Chronic atrophic gastritis
- Characterized by cell infiltration along with a thickening of the mucosa and an atrophy of gastric glands, with a replacement of cells with intestinal fibers and tissues
Chronic hypertrophic gastropathy
- Abnormal thickening of the mucosal layer of the stomach
Causes of Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs
Though the reason for the chronic vomiting cannot always be identified, there are many conditions that can attribute to it.
- Repeated exposure to dietary allergens
- Effects of medication on gastric mucosa (for example NSAIDs)
- Helicobacter organism infection
- Ingestion of foreign objects
- Fungal infection related to ingestion of swampy water (pythiosis)
- Fungal infection caused by ingestion of some bird droppings (histoplasmosis)
- Liver or kidney disease
- Immune-mediated disease
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Breed disposition (older, male small breed dogs such as Shih Tzu, Maltese, Miniature Poodle and Lhasa Apso are predisposed to chronic atrophic gastritis, while the Basenji breed is known to be susceptible to gastroenteropathy)
Diagnosis of Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs
When you bring your furry family member to the veterinary clinic, be prepared for the possibility of extensive testing; the reason for long-term stomach inflammation can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for the veterinary team to determine the best approach for diagnosis. Relay information such as the type of food you feed your pet, and whether he roams freely and has access to substances that may be harmful if ingested. Disclose medications he may have been on recently. Describe his recent behavior, detailing your concerns.
The visit will begin with a physical examination of your pet, and will also include standard tests such as urinalysis and fecal sample evaluation to look for parasitic or bacterial evidence. Blood tests, in the form of a complete blood count and serum biochemical profile will show any markers that may stand out, like the white blood cell count, which will indicate infection. A radiograph of the digestive system will most likely be in the diagnostic line up.
Other tests that are valuable tools in the process of determining the cause of the vomiting are ACTH-stimulation test (to rule out hypoadrenocorticism), and abdominal ultrasound (to verify if there is a tumor or foreign object causing the inflammation and vomiting). If necessary, histological evaluation will be done after an endoscopy. A biopsy of the stomach and small intestine could be needed if a diagnosis has not yet been reached.
Treatment of Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs
The protocol for the treatment of your beloved pet will be determined by the underlying cause, and also by whether or not the diagnosis was definitively concluded. When the diagnosis has not been conclusive to date, some veterinarians will begin the treatment of the long-term stomach inflammation by giving a deworming treatment to start. In some cases, the presence of a parasitic worm may not have been identified, but that does not rule out the possibility.
Other potential treatments could be immunosuppressive medication to control the inflammation, or putting your pet on a hypoallergenic diet in order to ascertain if a food allergy is the culprit for the vomiting. In the instance of a diagnosed case of hypertrophic gastropathy, for example, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissue. If your dog has been infected by the helicobacter spiral bacteria, a prescription for antibiotics will be administered. It is interesting to note that in order to eliminate this bacteria, a combination of a few different antibiotics must be given because the helicobacter organism can easily develop a resistance to just one.
If your dog is quite ill and dehydrated upon arrival at the clinic, he will be treated for the dehydration and possible electrolyte imbalances first, before the commencement of the inflammation regimen. If the vomiting is persistent, your veterinarian will want to give your dog medication to control that first, in order to eliminate the nausea. Gastroprotectants will be given as well.
Recovery of Long-Term Stomach Inflammation in Dogs
If your pet was hospitalized for dehydration, treatment will begin as soon as he is well enough to tolerate the medication prescribed, go through surgery, or resume eating to test a dietary change, whatever the case may be.
At home, be certain to adhere to the guidelines of your veterinarian in regards to medication administration. Never stop the medication early, even if your pet seems to feel better. If he is not tolerating the drugs, let the veterinary team know so an alternative drug can be prescribed. If you are trying a dietary change, pay strict attention to the rules, meaning no treats, table scraps or variations from the diet permitted. A dog returning home after surgery must be given a quiet place to rest.
No matter what the diagnosis, long-term stomach inflammation will require time for healing and follow-up visits at the clinic so the veterinarian can determine if the chosen therapy is working.
Long-Term Stomach Inflammation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog poppy has been having chronic regurgitation (very passive vomiting) for the past few weeks now. We’ve visited three hospitals with no diagnosis. Ultrasound at first showed an enlarged pancreas. X Ray showed mild alveolar patterns on left lung, though they believe neoplastic causes are unlikely. Poppy has had hematochoreza which has since been resolved, diarrhea (resolved with flagyl), anorexia, stomach gurgling, not wanting to drink, General malaised appearance, and of course regurgitation almost around the clock (currently stopped with sulfacrate and Prilosec). Endoscopy showed no abnormality except for smooth stomach thickening. Thoracic lymph nodes were said to be good. I’m terrified that this is a sort of cancer— the vet said she thinks sooner an ibd. Hematocrit was high possibly due to dehydration, as well as a low alkaline phosphatase level. What do you think is going on? I’m going crazy waiting for this biopsy.
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My 4 year old female English Bulldog has been throwing up off and on for a few weeks. The vet said her stomach wall lining is thickened. She is on medication and prescription dog food and has not thrown up for (2) days. She started throwing up last night and this morning. She did throw her medicine up this morning. I'm not sure what to do to help her. Any advice would be appreciated I should mention that for years she would randomly throw up, maybe once every few months. She would a few hours after eating.
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I took my dog to the vet for vomiting and no appetite. they did complete chemistry and cbc work which was all normal except RBC 5.63, HGB 25.8, WBC 18.19, NEUTROPHIL 15.17, PLT 589. X-RAY should mild heart dilation and mild dilation of all intestine and mild dilation kidney. He was given fluids, antiemetic, and antibiotic injections. I took him back 2 days later for same reason only my dog was worse. They did US and said the stomach and where it meets intestine was very inflamed. They think it could be lymphoma and said they could open him up and biopsy but due to his age 15 y/o he probably wouldn't make it. I brought him home on fluids, antiemetic's, and PO steroids as really a hospice treatment. I took him back as follow up 3 days later. they told me they would do an US to see if steroids help. They didn't! They sent me home on the same treatment! He has not had fluids in 5 days and is drinking well and eating well and pooping well. He may be 15 y/o but he doesn't act like it. He has really turned around and I want to get a second opinion but not sure how to without making my vet upset. Can you help me!
The increase in circulating white blood cells would be consistent with inflammation and the increase in haemoglobin would be consistent with vomiting and decreased water intake at the time of testing; other values like red blood cells and platelets are in the normal physiological range. If JR is perking up, it would be beneficial to have another ultrasound to check the inflammation in his stomach and to check his kidneys. Inflammatory conditions may occur without warning in older dogs and may resolve spontaneously, the important steps are to follow up when you see improvement rather than being complacent. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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