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What are Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers?

In order for the gastrointestinal barrier to function and protect, there are specific conditions that need to be met. Support for the mucosa comes from epithelial cells that are capable of spreading in order to cover defects in the barrier, adequate blood flow through the mucosa, and a mucus/bicarbonate layer offering protection. The three most common causes of stomach and intestinal (duodenal) ulcers in dogs are hepatic (liver) disease, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and neoplasia (abnormal growth of cells).

The mucosa of the stomach and intestine normally offer protection from acid-induced injury. If the gastric acid secretion increases substantially, or if there is an upset in the normal protective function of the gastrointestinal mucosa, your dog may get an ulcer. Disruption to the mucosal barrier can result independently or as a result of a secondary cause.

Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

Though some dogs with stomach or intestinal ulcers may not show symptoms, it is unusual. If your pet is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, a visit to the veterinary clinic is necessary:

  • Anemia (an iron deficiency due to chronic bleeding)
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Vomiting; there may be the presence of blood (hematemesis)
  • Pallor of mucous membrane due to severe bleeding
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Weakness
  • Stool that appears black due to presence of blood (melena)
  • Increased salivation
  • Abdominal distention
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Shock
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Causes of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

If there is an excess of acid and pepsin or a breakdown in protection for the stomach and intestine, an ulcer will form. Without treatment, there is the risk of perforation of the ulcer, which can quickly lead to septic peritonitis and death. Causes of stomach and intestinal ulcers are many, some of which are listed below:

  • Gastrinoma (tumor in pancreas or duodenum)
  • Ingestion of poison or toxin
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Lymphoma
  • Adenocarcinoma (tumor in epithelial tissue)
  • Helicobacter (bacterium that causes chronic inflammation in stomach)
  • Hepatopathy (congestion in liver that results from venous congestion usually in right side heart failure)
  • Excess of extreme exercise
  • Shock
  • Hepatic disease (can cause increased gastric acid secretion and changes in mucosal blood flow)
  • Corticosteroids used for spinal disease, renal disease or stress
  • NSAID use can cause direct damage to the stomach and intestinal mucosa
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Diagnosis of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

After a physical examination and collection of notes on your pet’s medical history, the veterinarian will suggest a urinalysis and liver function test to look for liver disease. It's important to understand that a complete blood count as well as a full serum chemistry profile may reflect secondary causes for the ulcer. Another test which may be ordered is the adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation test to check your pet’s adrenal glands.

Imaging tests, such as radiograph, will not accurately identify an ulcer but will rule out instances like an obstruction. An ultrasound may be able to identify a gastrointestinal mass, but gas may interfere with the image.

The best test to diagnose a stomach or intestinal ulcer or lesion is the gastroscopy. With this type of test, the veterinarian can view the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and colon. After viewing, choosing to do a biopsy must be carefully considered because of the risk of perforation of the ulcer. Sometimes, a surgical biopsy is necessary. A test of the PH of the gastric fluid may be done as well.

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Treatment of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

The veterinarian will explain that treating the underlying cause of the ulcers is an important part of the medical care required to heal your pet. In the meantime, immediate care will begin with intravenous fluids if necessary, depending on the present condition of your dog.

Antidotes, such as Cimetidine, will be given to reduce gastric acidity. Preventing more damage to the mucosa is very important so steps will be taken to ensure this happens, including more prescriptions of medication. It should be noted that the drugs may need to be given for a period of six to eight weeks.

Antacids and additional drugs aimed at promoting healing must be given on a frequent basis in order to prevent the return of the previous gastric acidity. Careful scheduling of all medications is a must because some must be taken without food or other drugs in the system.

If bacteria is a concern, antibiotics will be prescribed as well. If there is the unfortunate circumstance of life-threatening hemorrhaging due to the ulcers, or if the ulcers cannot be dealt with through medical therapy and medication alone, surgery will be needed.

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Recovery of Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers in Dogs

As with all recovery protocol, rest and quiet are always recommended upon return home from the clinic. As stress can irritate and contribute to ulcers, a comfortable spot for your dog to lie, in a room away from the normal busyness of home, is highly suggested.

The veterinarian will advise on the regimen for feeding after treatment or surgery. Drinking water must be accessible at all times. Small meals, several times throughout the day may be the suggestion, in order to put less pressure on the stomach and intestine.

You should expect to see some sort of improvement in your dog within a few days, but keep in mind that recovery from an ulceration can take up to a few weeks. The prognosis is good (as long as the underlying cause can be resolved) for stomach and intestinal ulcers that can be treated with medication. If there has been liver or kidney complications, the prognosis may be more guarded. If there are abnormal cell growth or tumors, the end result will depend upon the eradication of the masses, if possible, and the health status of your pet upon the discovery of the ulcers.

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pitbull mixed with lab

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool

My 2 year old pit lab mix had 10 puppies. I noticed today that one of them is on the gloomy side and just not active and his stool is a dark brown like color . What maybe wrong or what should i do ?

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Unfortunately without examining him it is hard to say exactly what is going on. It could range from something minor to something more severe. Possibilities include parasites, food intolerance, or something more serious like parvovirus. If he’s lethargic with diarrhea I would recommend taking him to your veterinarian so that they can examine him and help determine what is going on with him. Young puppies get dehydrated very quickly so it is best to have him immediately. I hope he feels better soon.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Gypsy

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Morkie-Poo

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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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

Lethargy
Black Tar Like Stools
Spit Up/ Vomiting

The night before last she spit up a brownish red mucus mess. It was dark and I thought it was blood but then I thought my mind was racing to conclusions. Yesterday when I got home from work I found a poop pile that was black and tar like droplets, nothing solid. Last night she was very lethargic and stayed in her bed; she didn’t eat anything and from what I can remember didn’t drink much either. At 1am she got up and wanted to go outside at which point it was this dark black tar like droplet. So when I was at work today I kept her up in bathroom (with tile) and again more droplets of Black tar like droplets. Then later on this evening she didn’t quite make it outside fast enough and made a fresh mess, when wiping it up I noticed it to have some red in it. I’ve come to the realization that she’s got a GI bleed somewhere, however money is extremely tight and my mind is racing on the expenses to go with any kind of scope. She’s still just laying around, but with periodically get up and walk around with her tail up like nothing is wrong. What can do I at home to see if it’s and ulcer vs. something worse?

July 26, 2018

Gypsy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It is possible that there is some gastrointestinal bleeding which is causing black tarry stools and the vomiting of dirty brown vomit, however it isn’t just a case of diagnosing whether there is bleeding it is more important to know why it is bleeding which may include gastric ulceration, poisoning, colitis, tumours, infections among other causes. Don’t try to give anything like Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) turns the faeces black and tarry as a side effect so it is impossible to see if the black tarry stool is from digested blood or digested Pepto Bismol; (if Gypsy isn’t on any other medications) over the counter medications like famotidine (0.25mg/lb thirty minutes before food twice per day) may help and feeding small regular portions of a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice may help too. However, if there is no improvement or Gypsy’s gums are pale you should visit a Veterinarian regardless of cost. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/digestive-system/diseases-of-the-stomach-and-intestines-in-small-animals/gastrointestinal-ulcers-in-small-animals

July 26, 2018

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fluffy

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spits

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1 Month

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

Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Blood

i hav a female puppy ... nd she have no blood in her body ... suggest me any solution . how can i recover her from this before she die coz of unabsence of blood in her body .

July 13, 2018

fluffy's Owner

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0 Recommendations

If Fluffy has a low red blood cell count (anaemia), the treatment would depend on the underlying cause for the low count; causes may include infections, parasites, poisoning, immune-mediated conditions among other causes. There is no single correct treatment, it depends on the primary cause, your Veterinarian should check Fluffy to make a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 13, 2018

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Louie

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Corgi English Bull

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Occasional Vomiting
Former Bloody Vomit
Former Tarry Stool
Undigested Food In Recent Vomit
Currently Not Passing Stool
Passing Putrid Gas

On a Friday after the vet closed, Louie my 27lb dog had consumed an 8mg Buprenorphine/ 2mg Naloxone sublingual film strip from the table when I was halfway to the kitchen. I called the emergency line for my Vet and they told me to induce vomiting with Hydrogen Peroxide, however, they never told me what dosage to give him. I raced to the store, came home, and in a panic, I administered the HP to Louie. He kept holding the vomit down so I continued to administer more and more and more until he finally vomited. This was the biggest mistake I could have made. After a shower, he went downstairs and lost his stool on the stairs. Then again at the bottom of the stairs. Then later he started to feel the effects of the medication. He continued to be lethargic, vomited blood, and had tarry runny stools. The whole time he has been fine with drinking fair amounts of water and urinating regularly. He continued like this only getting slightly better. On Monday we went to the vet, he agreed with what I thought was gastric ulcers caused by the Hydrogen Peroxide. He prescribed meds and Louie has very slowly got better throughout the week. It took until Wednesday (the 3rd day of meds) for him to finally turn the corner, wag his tail happily, go for a little walk without coaxing, and look excited about food. He still is perfectly fine drinking fair amounts of water and urinating. Every once in awhile he vomits again and it looks like the food he did have is undigested, he has not yet passed any stools and he passes terrible gas. Is the undigested food from the meds? Could he have an inflammatory obstruction caused by the excessive HP? Do the water intake and good urination mean if he did have an obstruction it might be in the bowls and not the stomach? Do any of those meds need to be taken with food? Are there any OTC medications that might be better? Thank you for your time and consideration answering my questions!! Wishing you all the best, Louie and Owners

June 28, 2018

Louie's Owner

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2 Recommendations

Gastric ulceration is a common issue with excessive hydrogen peroxide administration, most dogs will do well with either omeprazole, famotidine or similar over the counter medications; I don’t know about relationship with intestinal obstruction after excessive hydrogen peroxide. You should continue with the current course of treatment and encourage Louie to eat small regular meals, if there is no improvement you should visit your Veterinarian for a follow up examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 29, 2018

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Bella

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French Bulldog

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Vomiting

Our 9 year old Frenchie has been seen several times since we brought a new puppy into our home. Her symptoms began with red blood in her stool. A decal check was done immediately, and again a week later just to make sure the puppy didn’t bring something home. She was put on a bland diet by the vet at that time. Then she began vomiting in the middle of the night. We were then told to continue with the diet and add Pepcid AC. The vomiting cleared up, but then the bloody stool began again. We were then told to stop the Pepcid as long as she wasn’t vomiting, and give her Immodium AD. A full blood panel was done at the end of May and we were told there were no red flags whatsoever. Now that the vomiting has subsided, she won’t eat. We have tried every trick in the book. She was eating things she could lick, avoiding solids, but she’s stopped being interested in any food at all. We have also paid to have two different sets of X-rays done, only to have no results. This weekend she vomited in the middle of the day (a first) and there were small clots of blood. Yesterday she began displaying black, tarry stool. She has gone from 23 pounds to 16 pounds since this all began in April. At this point we have spent about $1000 and have gotten zero answers. We feel like we are literally watching our baby wither away in front of our eyes.

June 11, 2018

Bella's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Vomiting blood clots and the presence of black tarry stool is an indicator of gastric ulceration; if all these symptoms started when you introduced the puppy to your home it may be an idea to see if there is any improvement if you send the puppy to stay with a family member or friend (or a kennel if needs must) to see if there is any improvement in Bella’s symptoms since it may be stress related. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 12, 2018

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Jack

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Chihuahua

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7 Years

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Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Allergies, Ulcers

Disabled and Desparate Adopted Jack March 2019, 7 years. He is now my emotional support dog. My disabilities: PTSS, Panic Attacks, Anxiety, Depression. Since initial signs of skin and eye allergies. Jack's conditioned has worsened in severity. He and I have visited all the veterinarians in this area. Have spent my savings! Have no diagnosis! Have tried multiple diets, even cooking at home. The past 2 weeks I'm so afraid I'm loosing him. I've visited each of the vets again ... I'm pawning things to pay. My symptoms of PTSS have worsened. I shake all the time. Stutter. Jack is all I have. No friends. No family. By no means does the below list all vet visits. This is recent and below is from the beginning. 1/2/19 In pain & extremely lethargic.Believe eyes are secondary to something else. Cuz no response from Temp P or apugquil.Suspect: kidneys, liver, or digestive ulcer. Does a lot of sticking tongue out/licking his mouth. When I had horses this indicated pain.!He licks & licks me ... again I believe keeps mind off pain. Has been unable to sleep, rest or relax.Sleeping position is odd & sitting position is flat & out. Like pain is in the rear. Hair loss Ears red Head shaking like has headache After eating anything eyes swell, ears red, skin red. Vet 1: Sees nothing wrong. Needs teeth cleaning. Pay for blood work, exam, pain med. He is in pain. Don't know why. Vet 2: Prescribes ulcer med, pain med, nausea med. Animal ER: I walk into clinic informing all of my disabilities. Request at least blood work. They become upset about my behavior, ask that I leave and call the police. Two days later Animal ER: Again I walk in informing them of my disabilities. The tech sees Jack is red all over. They refuse treatment and call police. Jack has had another severe reaction today but has reactions after eating, it's a daily trauma. Have no one to help ... I'm syringing slippery elm, alfalfa, aloe vera, Redmond clay, hemp oil, homeopathic, sweet potato. He drinks water and I'm not seeing dark stools. _______________________ 5.9.19 Eat grassTried multiple foods, won’t eatBarks all time, constantly scaredShakes all the time Itches constantlyNot happy or playfulBlood in stoolVomiting DD til ZD arrives. 7.12.19 BenadrylCortisol dropsFluoxetine APOQUEL Cytopoint 8.5.19 Red No Blue yes Inflammatory retina disease Behind the eyes Temp P. As last resort, visited a vet Optomologist. I lost $800. Did not receive papers on list til I called 2 weeks later. Prescribed Apiquil. Told him on 1st visit that does not work. He neglected to inform me that Jack also had urinary tract infection. 10.10.19 Trazadone 25 mg twice per day anxiety worse. 12.11.19 Toothpaste Hyperallergenuc chews Estimate for teeth clean

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Bowie

dog-breed-icon

Havanese

dog-age-icon

2 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

Lethargy
Nausea
Stomach Gurgling
Vomit With Blood

Bowie has had stomach problems since he was a puppy. Many mornings he would wake up sick, throwing up frothy clear bile, lethargic all day, but 20 hours later be back to his normal self. Ran blood, fecal, urine tests- everything came back normal. Finally a vet suggested the obvious- change his food! I had him on an expensive grain free food, the vet suggested it was too rich for him. I switched him to Hill's sensitive stomach formula. This helped tremendously in reducing the frequency of episodes, but he would still have a "sick day" maybe once a month? This is when I began cooking a homemade, balanced diet for him- mostly consisting of beef or turkey, rice, peas, carrots, and eggs. This has worked wonders for Bowie. However, he has had a few "sick days" over the last year. Also troublesome- 2 or 3 times a month he will be hungry in the morning and be half way done with his food when he rushes away from his dish curled up in pain. Sometimes he even cries, it's the saddest thing. This only happens at breakfast time, never later in the day. But after 1-2 minutes, it passes, he stands up and finishes his food, on with the day ready to play! Yesterday, he woke up quite sick. Threw up brownish liquid with lots of blood flecks in it. As usual, he seems all better today, but I am very concerned. I listen to his tummy and can hear it turning/gurgling. I worry about ulcers, something serious, etc. I have self diagnosed it as reoccurring acute gastritis? I have never seen black sticky stools. Although I have seen a little mucous on it at times. The only thing I can think to be different is I've been giving him more salmon lately, perhaps too much fatty foods for him. My game plan now is to lower the fat content in his food. Instead of roasting the meat, boiling it. Not adding so many eggs, no additional oils, and no more salmon. I'm wondering if I should add some probiotics or enzymes to his food as well... what do you think?

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buddy

dog-breed-icon

pourmarian

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Critical severity

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

i had a dog like 2 days back i lost it to acute stomach ulcer which lead it to have severe blood vomiting and no intake of food very tired and was naturally upset. it was only 9 yrs old . we kept it under treatment but its condition was worsening and got fits at the last.. was there nay possibility that my dog would be beside me now.. having fun like always.

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Thor

dog-breed-icon

Yorkie

dog-age-icon

6 Months

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

Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Tarry Stool
Fever
Lethargy
Urinating

Our puppy, Thor, started stargazing Saturday night. He became very stiff and looking upwards. About 15 minutes later, without any movement, he began yelping uncontrollably as though he was in excruciating pain and urinated on himself. We rushed him to the vet and he was given something to ease his pain and we were discharged. He returned home and seemed semi-normal but urinated on himself which is very unlike him, because he didn't even try to move. The vet said to return the following day (Sunday) for another checkin and bloodwork to see what was going on. The results came back showing that he was slightly anemic, his immune system was challenged, and his phosphorus levels were slightly elevated (however, the vet said that is common for puppies). We were discharged again, this time with some vet-specific food to improve his condition (bland diet). Monday, I returned home from school and found my puppy STILL lethargic and unwell, this time accompanied by tar looking stool. This alarmed me, so I took him back to the vet and we were told that Thor had a fever of 104.6. We were transferred to the animal emergency hospital where he was hospitalized overnight and given a plasma transfusion. He seemed better this morning, but again still lethargic, urinating on himself, and has been fed a a spoonful of a digestive bland diet prescribed by the emergency doctor every two hours without pooping yet. He also got a bit warm from time to time. We just spent over $2000 for the plasma transfusion which is something that we cannot afford again. There was no specific cause found for the ulceration, but we're hoping this comes to an end very soon.

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Pirrin

dog-breed-icon

Bull Terrier miniature

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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

Mild severity

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Black Tarry Stools
Casual Vomits

My dog had a knee surgery last Tuesday (8th January) everything was good until Saturday night she started vomiting, the vet prescribed her primperan to control vomiting but on Monday she pooped black tarry stools, the vet immediatly suspended the previcox NSAID, on Tuesday she poooed again black tarry stools and the vet decided to change the antibiotics. She is feeling good, with energy (considering she just had knee surgery) her Gums are ok, she has appetite. All evidence seems to indicate that the NSAID is responsible for the black tarry stools but what else can we do to solve this issue? Thank you very much

Stomach and Intestinal Ulcers Average Cost

From 56 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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