What is Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic)?
Atrophic gastritis is a type of chronic inflammation of the stomach lining that causes the mucosa and the lining of the stomach to thin. This can cause the loss of the glands that produce stomach acid, leading to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. It is more difficult to treat than other varieties of gastritis, but changes in diet and gastroprotective and corticosteroid medications can help alleviate symptoms and further erosion. Atrophic gastritis can also occur in people who are infected with the H. Pylori bacteria, but that connection has not been proven in canines.
Chronic inflammation of the stomach can lead to atrophic gastritis, a disorder in which the lining of the stomach thins and the glands that produce stomach acid become damaged.
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Symptoms of Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) in Dogs
Symptoms of atrophic gastritis are similar in nature to other gastritis disorders. It is classified as a chronic gastritis. Some forms of chronic gastritis should be considered if vomiting occurs over 7 or more days and cannot be attributed to dietary issues, drugs, toxins or foreign bodies.
- Abdominal pain
- Dietary indiscretion
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Atrophic gastritis can be an end stage to other chronic gastritis related issues. Other chronic gastritis types that can affect canines include:
- Chronic inflammatory disease of the stomach and intestines
- This form of gastritis is more common in dogs under five years of age
- Chronic inflammation of the stomach resulting in the formation of large coiled ridges in the inner wall of the stomach
- A chronic inflammation of the stomach due to inflammatory bowel disease
Causes of Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) in Dogs
Many things can contribute to the overall inflammation of the stomach including gastric tumors, food allergies, bacterial or viral infections, and internal parasites. Atrophic gastritis is often the end stage of other gastritis related disorders. This disorder affects not only canines but also humans. The most common cause for atrophic gastritis to form for humans is infection by the H. Pylori bacteria, however, this connection is not thought to be the same for canines. The etiology of atrophic gastritis is not certain though it tends to occur more frequently in older dogs and dogs with acid reflux disease. A unique breed- associated atrophic gastritis in Norwegian Lundehunds is related to gastric adenocarcinoma.
Diagnosis of Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) in Dogs
The first thing your veterinarian is going to want is a history of the symptoms. The health background, dietary habits, access to garbage or potential toxins, oral medication and current symptoms are all likely to be covered. A physical exam will be performed with particular attention to the stomach and abdomen area. Several diagnostic tests may be recommended to rule out other disorders. In many cases treatment for general gastritis will be started before all of the tests have been completed.
If your veterinarian did not get a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis at the initial appointment, they will order these if initial treatment is unsuccessful. This will be done to rule out systemic illnesses such as distemper, diabetes, and liver disease. X-rays, ultrasonography, or contrast dye can be used to check for any obstructions or physical defects that could be causing the inflammation and your veterinarian may also use an endoscope to visualize and biopsy the tissue inside of the stomach. The lining of the stomach is eroded by this disorder and it can cause thinning to the point of loss of gastric glands, which may be revealed either visually or through biopsy.
Treatment of Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) in Dogs
If the patient is showing symptoms of severe dehydration or of blood loss, your pet may be checked into the animal hospital for supportive treatment such as IV Fluids or pain mitigation. In less critical cases the early therapy for dogs showing gastric distress involves withholding food for 12-48 hours (until vomiting has stopped for 12 hours). Although it may sound harsh, it is often very effective and gives the dog’s stomach and intestines time to recover from the vomiting. Water and crushed ice should be offered often during this time, but only in small amounts to avoid cramping of the stomach or renewed vomiting.
After the initial withholding period only soft, bland foods will be offered. The ideal diet at that point would include one easily-digestible carbohydrate along with a mild protein source. Suitable carbohydrates could include cooked rice, pasta or potatoes, and the protein would be something like unseasoned boiled ground beef, non-fat cottage cheese, or skinless white chicken meat. If the vomiting reoccurs medications to combat the symptoms may be given, such as anti-emetics, gastric protectants or corticosteroids.
Recovery of Stomach Inflammation (Atrophic) in Dogs
Although atrophic gastritis can be managed, damage to the stomach lining and gastric glands generally cannot be reversed and management is required to reduce the number of symptom reoccurrences. Management of the disorder may include continuing the medications from treatment in order to protect the remaining stomach lining, and immunosuppressive therapies may be considered to prevent further damage. Your dog may also be switched to a prescription food to manage the chronic gastritis. These can include bland or hypoallergenic diets. If the new diet is effective, positive responses should be apparent after about four weeks of the new diet.