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When our pets get sick, it can sometimes be disconcerting. They can’t tell us what’s wrong, and we don’t always know how to help. If your dog seems to be having digestive distress, it could be gastritis. Knowing the symptoms and how to treat it can be helpful in caring for your pet.

Gastritis is caused by inflammation in the gastrointestinal lining of a dog’s stomach. There are three types of gastritis:

  • Chronic gastritis goes on longer than seven days. This can damage the intestinal lining, causing inflammation, gastrointestinal obstructions, and a compromised immune system. Pets with chronic gastritis can develop smaller gastric glands, which can lead to a lack of appetite or difficulty going to the bathroom.
  • Acute gastritis is the most common and least serious type of gastritis. It usually goes away within 24 hours, though it can sometimes last for several days. It’s not pleasant, but it’s generally harmless and doesn’t require seeing a vet.
  • Atrophic gastritis is late-stage chronic gastritis. When a long stretch of chronic gastritis damages the inner lining of the stomach, ulcers and infections become a risk and a dog can develop long-term issues with processing food.

If your dog has gastritis, it’s not hard to notice the symptoms. The dog might vomit excessively, sometimes vomiting yellow, foamy bile. The appetite might decrease, and thirst might increase, and your dog may seem lethargic and depressed. Dehydration is a major concern. Diarrhea, blood in stool or vomit, and black, tarry stool are also symptoms, and your dog may have abdominal pain that causes hunching of the back.

Often, gastritis is caused by something a dog eats. It could be rotten, spoiled, or contaminated food, trash, cat litter, certain plants, or even table scraps. Eating mold or fungi, non-food items, chemicals, and cleaners, or medications can also cause gastritis. However, gastritis can sometimes have a different cause, like an infection or allergies. A dog suffering from gastritis may have a serious condition like an immune disease, stomach cancer, kidney failure, ulcers, or neurological disease.

If you think your dog has gastritis, call your vet. Even if it’s acute gastritis and doesn’t require medical attention, your vet will have advice and may want to examine your dog to make sure it’s not something more serious. You may need to withhold food and only give small amounts of water for a day or two. For more serious gastritis, your vet can prescribe medication or other medical interventions.

At Reed Animal Hospital, we treat your pets as if they were our own. We’ve got veterinarians, technicians, assistants, and receptionists, all prepared to help you and your pet, and we even offer referrals to specialty surgeons, many of whom will travel to our office to consult with your pet. For more information or to make an appointment, call us in Campbell at 408-369-1788, or in Saratoga at 408-647-2906, or contact us through our website.