When your pet is suffering from gastritis, you can take steps at home to help your dog or cat feel better. Try withholding food until the symptoms abate, and giving fluids in small amounts throughout the day. While there can be numerous causes of gastritis that may call for treatment, the gastritis itself must also be addressed.
If these simple treatments are not effective, take your dog or cat to see your veterinarian for further testing. They may prescribe a medication such as Famotidine (Pepcid). It is also possible that the animal will need surgery to remove an obstruction, or that a larger illness is causing the gastritis.
Gastritis Tests Explained
Due to the numerous possible causes of gastritis, testing for the cause is done by a process of elimination. Often the first test is withholding food or water from the animal, and administering anti-inflammatory medications. If this is an effective treatment, the veterinarian may conclude that the animal simply ingested an irritating substance or product.
If this doesn't work, an x-ray may be taken to see if there is blockage in the digestive tract. Blood analysis and urinalysis my be performed, and may be followed by a tissue biopsy. If the cause is still unknown, the vet may perform an endoscopy, which is a camera wand placed in the digestive tract to view any abnormalities. Abdominal surgery to identify the cause is typically a last resort.
Withholding Food from the dog or cat for twelve to forty-eight hours will help the lining of their stomach heal. The goal is that by then, whatever toxin or object inflamed the stomach has been expelled, giving the stomach lining a respite from irritation. In addition, if your pet is consistently vomiting or having diarrhea, these symptoms will diminish, as the stomach has nothing left to expel. In some cases, this is not the only treatment necessary to cure the gastritis, but in most, this is highly effective. If the animal is reacting to the food itself, be careful not to reintroduce spoiled food, or food to which the animal is allergic. Try bland, soft, low fat foods, such as cooked potatoes or rice. This should only be given after twelve hours of ceased vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet responds well to the bland food, after a couple days, reintroduce standard unspoiled food.
Ration Water, because dogs and cats who suffer from gastritis tend to drink too much water too fast. This can irritate the gastritis further, and actually induce more vomiting. It is very important that the animal is well hydrated, but smaller amounts throughout the day can be effective at maintaining hydration, without exacerbating the symptoms of gastritis. If your pet is too exhausted or already too dehydrated to drink, see your veterinarian.
Surgery may be necessary for dogs or cats who have swallowed something that is not digestible. Sometimes this can obstruct the digestive system, and prevent the animal from getting better. If the obstruction is visible through x-ray or endoscopy, the surgery to remove it can be minor. However, if the obstruction is unknown, surgery may be necessary just to locate it, which can be invasive.
Keep the Area in which your Dog or Cat Lives and Plays Clear of debris or items small enough to swallow. This can be the most effective way to protect your animal from the harm of stomach and digestive obstruction. Animals do not always have a good sense of what is food and what can be harmful, so you are their best chance. It may be impossible to fully protect against gastritis, as many animals have a large area to roam in, but do the best you can and your pet will benefit.