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Veterinarian Tips: Canine Chronic Gastritis

June 19, 2017

Dogs vomit for any number of reasons. They may have eaten something strange that irritated their stomach, or they ate too fast, or they became car sick. The point is, in dogs, vomiting is a common occurrence. However, if the animal is observed to vomit off and on over a period of days or weeks for no apparent reason, there may be a medical reason.

Canine Chronic Gastritis

Triggered by a variety of diseases, the characteristic sign of chronic gastritis is vomiting. Its cause may be attributed to one of the following diseases:

Chronic Atrophic Gastritis

  • Often develops from an immune condition
  • Issues arise from a thinning of the stomach wall and from a reduction in size and depth of gastric glands
  • Predisposed: Norwegian Lundehund

Chronic Hypertrophic Gastritis

  • Cause is unknown in older dogs
  • Felt to be connected to mast cell tumors and histamine release
  • Involves a thickening of the mucous membranes of the lower portion of the stomach
  • Can cause:
    • Gastric outflow obstruction
    • Food retention
    • Vomiting within 3 to 4 hours after eating
  • Considered to potentially be a congenital problem affecting brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs and Boston Terriers
  • Commonly observed to occur middle-aged, small breed dogs such as:
    • Lhasa Apsos
    • Shih Tzus,
    • Maltese
    • Basenjis
    • Miniature Poodles
  • Males are predisposed

Chronic Eosinophilic Gastritis

  • Definite cause is unknown, but is felt to be connected to:
    • Parasites
    • Food allergies
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Eosinophilic leukemia
    • Hypereosinophilic syndrome
  • Characterized by:
    • Accumulating eosinophils in the mucus that lines the stomach
    • Thickening and scarring of the wall of the stomach
    • Ulcers
    • Bleeding
    • Sporadic vomiting
  • Can occur in any age dog, but most observed in ones under 5 years of age
  • Breeds that may be predisposed:
    • German Shepherd
    • Rottweiler
    • Shar Pei

Diagnosis and Signs

Chronic vomiting that occurs more than once or twice a day helps to pinpoint the diagnosis of chronic gastritis. Additional signs that may be associated with the diagnosis may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Dull hair coat
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Electrolyte imbalance.

In some cases, the determination of disease will require:

  • Endoscopic evaluation
  • Biopsy of the stomach
  • Biopsy of the small intestine.

Treatment of Canine Chronic Gastritis

Clients should be advised to bring the animal in to be seen.

The first steps of treatment involve getting control of the vomiting. Additional treatment steps may involve:

  • Switching animal to a prescription diet
  • Fixing a homemade diet of boiled rice and cottage cheese given in small, frequent feedings
  • Correcting imbalances caused by dehydration, electrolyte loss
  • Suppressing vomiting reflex
  • Antiemetic therapy
  • Steroids.

Dogs with chronic gastritis don’t look like they feel good because they don’t feel good! Determining the reason and getting them help to stop throwing up is essential!

Help Your Clients Help Their Pets

At Henry Schein, we believe the more information veterinarians provide clients, the more likely their clients will return. Here’s some additional information that may be of interest to your clients who have dogs:

Safety Tips for Taking a Pup to the Dog Park

Veterinarian Tips: Microchip Your Pet

Probiotics and Prebiotics: What Is the Difference?

Henry Schein has all kinds of animal care information to share with clients. Contact them online or at (855) SCHEIN1 (724-3461).


Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, 4th ed., D.M. Eldredge, L.D. Carlson, D.G. Carlson, J.M. Giffin

The Merck Veterinary Manual, 8th ed., Merck & Co., Inc. Whitehouse Station, NJ, U.S.A
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