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What is Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation?

Inflammation is often the body’s response to an infection. Over the short term, it can rid cells of bacteria and disease, but kept up indefinitely, chronic inflammation creates its own problem. Inflammatory responses can be triggered in a dog’s stomach and intestine, sometimes in response to an actual infection, sometimes in response to a food or allergen, and occasionally due to a hereditary weakness. Once triggered, these responses can self-perpetuate to some degree since inflamed mucosa become even more sensitive to allergens. The result may be prolonged symptoms of digestive upset without an obvious cause. The problem can sometimes be alleviated by a change in diet. Severe cases may need medication to reduce the animal’s autoimmune response.

Inflammation of the stomach and intestine can cause acute and chronic symptoms of digestive upset. Long term conditions will put stress on a dog’s system and undermine overall health. A number of veterinarian defined diseases create this condition, including gastritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,800

Symptoms of Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Frequent vomiting is a symptom which may contain the following:

  • Undigested food
  • Fresh blood
  • Digested blood that looks like coffee grounds
  • Froth
  • Bile

Other signs which may present are:

  • Diarrhea often with blood
  • Dark tar-like feces that contains blood (melena)
  • Straining to pass mucus covered feces
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain (sometimes indicated by raising the back legs and pressing the front portion of the body to the floor)

Types

Inflammation can occur at almost any point along the gastrointestinal tract. Most forms of inflammation can be either short term or chronic.

  • Acute gastritis - short term inflammation of the stomach that results in vomiting of blood, bile or undigested food

  • Chronic gastritis - results when the vomiting has persisted regularly for more than a week and cannot be attributed to an isolated cause like food poisoning
  • Eosinophilic gastroenteritis and Lymphocytic- plasmacytic gastroenteritis - severe forms of chronic gastritis which occur when eosinophil, or lymphocyte and plasma cells infiltrate the gastric mucosa

  • Chronic atrophic gastritis - a form of chronic gastritis characterized by thinning of the mucosa, gastric gland atrophy and infiltration of mononuclear cells
  • Chronic hypertrophic gastropathy - a rare form of chronic gastritis in which inflammation constricts the muscles and reduces gastric outflow

  • Inflammation of the large intestine or colon - inflammation of the colon can be short term or long term, like gastritis. It is more likely to present bowel symptoms such as diarrhea and blood or mucus in the feces, than vomiting
  • Eosinophilic enterocolitis and Lymphocytic-plasmacytic enterocolitis - similar versions of these gastric diseases in the colon.

  • Granulomatous enteritis - a rare condition in which long term inflammation narrows the bowel opening
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) - a diverse group of long-term inflammatory diseases including chronic forms of gastritis and colon inflammation where the mucosa on the walls of the gastrointestinal tract are infiltrated by immune-system, antibody cells

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Causes of Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Short term inflammation can often be attributed to poisoning, bad food or even overeating. Some possible causes of long term inflammation include:

  • Allergens to chemicals in processed food
  • Allergic reaction to a medication
  • Unknown bacterial or parasite infection
  • Hyper-immune response originally triggered by an allergen or infection that has become self-perpetuating
  • Defective lymphoid tissue
  • Genetic predisposition- some breeds are considered more likely to develop long-term inflammation including Norwegian Lundehunds, German Shepherds, Yorkshire and Wheaten Terriers, Basenjis, Boxers, English Bulldogs, Irish Settlers, Rottweilers, Chinese Shar-Peis, and Cocker Spaniels

  • Psychosomatic factors
  • Idiopathic (unknown)
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Diagnosis of Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Diagnosis of inflammation is often a system of elimination. There are many known viral and bacterial infections which cause vomiting, including canine parvovirus, so the veterinarian will first try to eliminate these as a possibility. Radiographs and ultrasound will check for gastrointestinal cancer which causes many similar symptoms. Complete blood work will usually be taken. This often shows deficiency from constant vomiting and poor nutrition absorption, but if no other abnormalities are present it can rule out other conditions. Urine and feces tests can help to eliminate some known diseases.

The veterinarian may recommend an endoscopy or a colonoscopy to further check for cancer and evaluate the state of the mucosa on the gastrointestinal walls. Biopsies are usually taken during these procedures to evaluate the cells at a microscopic level. Both of these procedures are invasive and will require an anesthetic. Your dog will also have to fast for several hours. Exploratory surgery is another option to ascertain the extent of the inflammation on the walls of the stomach or intestine. 

All the information you can give the veterinarian regarding the type and frequency of the symptoms as well as when they first started will be important in making an accurate diagnosis.

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Treatment of Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Most dogs will be given medication to aid with the vomiting symptoms. Antacids and anti-inflammatory drugs are also commonly prescribed. Fiber is often added to the diet for dogs with colon inflammation. This can be effective for short term problems, but long term issues will often return.

Changing your dog’s diet is usually the first treatment for chronic inflammation. You may need to withhold food for several days, and start your dog back eating on the “novel protein diet.” This involves feeding your dog a type of protein he has never eaten before such as duck, or even kangaroo in order not to immediately retrigger the same allergic response. The veterinarian may also give you hydrolyzed protein, which has been specifically designed to minimalize the chance of an allergic reaction. Starting with the novel protein, you will slowly add elements back into your dog’s diet. If the symptoms start again, you will know what specific food triggered it, and you may be able to find a substitute.

If diets are unsuccessful, several medications can help reduce long term inflammation of the stomach and intestine. An immune suppressant, cyclosporine, is one common choice for limiting the auto-immune response and reducing inflammation. The steroid prednisone is also effective, and some veterinarians are turning to a dog adapted from of CellCept, the drug which is given to humans to avoid rejection of a new organ after a transplant. 

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Recovery of Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs

Inflammation of the stomach and intestine isn’t usually dangerous or life threatening, but it can cause your dog a lot of misery. Follow the veterinarian’s advice and stick strictly to any dietary program. This may be difficult at times, especially when it requires withholding foods your dog loves, but it can be important for his recovery. In some cases your dog may be able to return to a more normal diet once the triggering factor is found; in others, you may have to manage his diet for some time. If the veterinarian prescribes a long term medication, check the side effects and try to give the smallest effective dosage.

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Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,800

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Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Huggie

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Rottweiler

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Not Interested In Food Or Water
Blood In Diarrhea Lathargy

Help My 3 yr old Rottweiler he has been pooping not normal its diarrhea with blood in it his. pooped like 4-6 time today he's relatively:Update now it getting worst but he doesn't want to eat or drink and hes lethargy I can't tell what's wrong with him

Aug. 26, 2018

Huggie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There are many reasons that this might be happening with Huggie, but since it doesn't seem to be getting better, it would be best to have him seen today by a veterinarian, as they can examine him, see what might be happening, and get him any treatment that he might need.

Aug. 26, 2018

Updates he is now eating and drinking again their is no more bloody diarrhea thou the poop is a little mushy and he's acting normal again what could it be then

Aug. 29, 2018

Huggie's Owner

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Fenty

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Yorkie mix

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7 Months

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Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea And Dry Heaving

My 7month old Yorkie/ Maltese Mix Fenty weighs about 4lbs and has been sick for about two weeks now eating much and barely drinking water. I’ve taken her to the vet three times. The first time I took her in because she was throwing up yellow bile and excessively and she had diarrhea. They did x-rays and said they didn’t find anything alarming besides that her intestines looked swollen but they didn’t seem worried and gave her subQ fluids, cerenia injection and send her home with metronidazole and FortiFlora for 5days. On the 3rd day after our visit she threw up again though her pop looked normal and she no longer had diarrhea so I took her in to have blood work done. They injected fluids again and B-12 she slept for most of the afternoon but got up like 7hrs later wanting play, ate her kibble, drank a little bit of water and was acting like her normal self. The follow day the vet calls me and tells me everything they tested for was normal and to continue to give her the metronidazole and see what happens. The following day she started to loss her energy again, she wouldn’t eat or drink water, she wasn’t herself so the vet recommended an ultrasound. Yesterday they did the ultrasound and said they found irritation of the stomach and intestines again they gave her guilds and cerenia and prescribed another 5days of metronidazole. I read the discharge paperwork and the diagnosis says gastroenteritis small but normal adrenal glands. And they recommended I make her an appointment another doctor for further diagnostics such as ACTH and GI Panel. I’m scared that one I’m over medicating her and two all these vet visits are stressing her out. I’m not sure what I should do. I feel so helpless and I don’t want to keep putting my baby through tests I’m scared her little body cannot handle it. Please help.

Aug. 17, 2018

Fenty's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

From the treatment described in your question, I wouldn’t be concerned about over medicating as your Veterinarian seems to be giving metronidazole which will cover some bacterial infections and some protozoal infections and is a common treatment in cases of unexplained diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. I would recommend you visit the other Veterinarian for follow up to see if there are any other issues; it is important to get to the bottom of a diagnosis, even if it is stressful because you need to think about the long term. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 18, 2018

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Bailey

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Himalayan

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Previously Was In Pain And Limp

Hi my Himalayan cat has crystals in his urine about 7 months ago and was rushed to the animal emergency. He was given very good care and has recovered well. He was put on Hill's prescription diet urinary care c/d food. He is now very well.I read I can buy urinary diet from Proplan and not buy the prescription since he is eating and doing well. He far prefers the Proplan as I got it one night when we ran out of the prescription food. What do you think? Thank you in advance

July 23, 2018

Bailey's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Bailey may be able to eat that food instead of the C/D, but since each cat metabolizes food differently, if you are going to change to the Purina urinary diet, it would be a good idea to monitor the pH of his urine every couple of weeks for a month or two to make sure that it isn't changing.

July 23, 2018

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Tiger Magic

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Maltipoo

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Loss Of Appetite
Fatigue

My 9 yr old boy has inflammed intestines and his symptoms have persisted for over a week. He seemed to be doing better this weekend but he seems to be going backward​s. He is not vomitin​g, he barely poops and when he does its very soft. He is eating and drinking in small portions, not as much as before. But his lack of energy and returning pain is worrying me. There is a clear increase in his energy when his medication kicks in. However, I would like to get him back to 100% as soon as possible. His current diet is boiled chicken and brown rice.

June 26, 2018

Tiger Magic's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are various different causes for inflamed intestines which may include infections, parasites, diet, foreign objects, poisoning, stress among other factors; if an underlying cause is determined it should also be managed as well. Without examining Tiger Magic, I cannot recommend any different treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 27, 2018

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Samuel

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Doberman Pinscher

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7 Months

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Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Hello, My 7 month old Doberman pincher was showing signs of sickened for one day when we decided to take him in to see the vet. After blood work and X-ray they decided that a small object was blocking his intestines, they couldn’t remove the object only by performing surgery, my concern is that the vet said that while he was doing surgery my puppy’s intestines looked very angry, almost like he ingested acid, is that ever going to repair or heal itself with proper nutrition and medication? I want my dogs to enjoy quality of life and not be in pain. He was on a raw diet prior to surgery. All his blood work and vitals were in great shape before and after surgery, it’s only been 24 hrs. Thank you for your advice, it means a lot.

May 29, 2018

Samuel's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are many difficult causes for gastrointestinal tract inflammation which may include the presence of foreign objects, infections, parasites, diet, stress among other causes; you should look at feeding a sensitive diet for a few weeks especially after the surgery and then have an ultrasound to see if there is thickening of the intestines. If Samuel is otherwise OK, I would just keep an eye on him for now. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 30, 2018

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Spunky

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Giant Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Eye Clouding, Lethargy, Vomiting

I am so devastated. We lost our 3 year old Giant Schnauzer last week and after seeing many different vets and specialists we still do not have a definitive answer. Our pup started out with a teary blueish/gray eye a year ago, then progressed to high fevers, body shakes, frequent vomiting, and lethargy. We went through ultrasounds, scans, even surgery. Found he had large mass of solely inflammation on the exit of his stomach leading to intestines. At first the said perhaps pancreatitis. But later they were not sure. The mass was not cancerous, but could not be removed because he would lose organ function. At first he was given a combination of doxyclylin and batryl for about 4 months. He did ok, but never rid of the inflammation. Then he was put on prednisone, starting at 40mg, then after a month or so, reducing to 20mg, then 15mg. He seemed to be doing ok/stable, but never healed. Why did this happen? His other litter mates are fine and healthy but mine is gone. He saw his vet the day before he died, and once again he was ok/stable. He had a great day that day, playing, happy, but the next morning he died rapidly. I am so heartbroken and wish I knew why. He was the center of our universe and he is gone much too young.

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Baron

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Anorexia
Vestibular Disease
Hypoalbuminia

My 6y/o GSD neutered male has had quite the bad experience. He had 2 cblo surgeries a few years ago. This January he presented a small wound on his inner knee. It would close and then re open. Once it started oozing and holding fluid, I got my vet involved. We started him on Clindamycin 300mg twice a day and the wound healed. We still removed the hardware for the effected knee and cultured. Cultures came back as MRSP. We started him on 900mg of Clindamycin once a day. After a few weeks, he started acting very anxious and less interested in eating. We stopped the antibiotic and took him in for bloodwork which was all normal. He then stopped eating even when we tried human cooked food. Dropped him at the vet on Wednesday. He had lost over 12lbs. He wouldn’t eat for the vet either so they started him on an IV with nutrients and an appetite stimulant. Friday morning they came in to find Baron showing signs of vestibular disease. He was put on a high dose of steroids. His ears are clear. New bloodwork showed low albumin, mildly high globulin and slightly elevated white count. UA normal. Sonogram of abdominal normal. Endoscopy showed mild stomach irritation but, considering no food pretty normal from acid. Not enough to make him not eat. No skin wounds or rashes. Vet thinks PLE. Did biopsy of intestines. Said they looked a little redder than normal but everything else was good. Any ideas out there? Help. This is killing me.

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Vinny Carlos

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

Four Years

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

Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Can'T Get Comfortable
Stomach Pain
Eating Dust

My 4 year old Chihuahua has had stomach issues since I adopted him when he was 2.5 years old. He will throw up rather frequently ( once a week or once every two weeks) as well as act as if he is in pain by not being able to get comfortable. He will often lay just the front of his body down or lay down then quickly get up and move to another spot. These episodes usually last for a few hours and with time he comes out of it but it happens frequently. He has been to the vet multiple times and we have tried to change his diet ( he eats homemade food now) He also gets a pr- biotic. His vet originally felt his diet was too high in fat. I am at a loss as to what is causing this as his tests have not indicated any issues. Anyone else experience similar symptoms in their dog? I'm at a loss! He also eats dust or grass when he doesn't feel well.

Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,800

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