What Causes Gastritis in Dogs and Cats? How to Find Out What's Causing Your Pet's Gastritis or Vomiting

What Causes Gastritis in Dogs and Cats?
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Gastritis in pets, often resulting in vomiting, can have several different causes. Learn what the causes of this common illness are.

Gastritis in pets is a stomach condition that causes vomiting and other side effects.

There are two forms of gastritis: acute and chronic. Acute gastritis is a sudden onset of stomach lining inflammation, often resulting in very sudden vomiting or diarrhea. Chronic gastritis is a slow onset of stomach lining inflammation, and may last until treated. Vomiting and diarrhea may come and go.

Chronic gastritis can result in long-term damage to the stomach and digestive system, while acute gastritis often ends as quickly as it begins.

When your veterinarian is trying to find the cause of the gastritis, knowing whether your pet is suffering from acute or chronic gastritis may help to narrow it down.

Causes of Acute Gastritis

Some of the most common causes include:

  • Overeating, food poisoning, eating spoiled food, or food allergies.

  • Some household cleaners, if ingested, can immediately induce vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Some outdoor-use chemicals, such as antifreeze, can cause acute gastritis, kidney failure, and even result in death.

  • Some commonly administered medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or steroids have been known to result in acute gastritis, along with bacterial or viral gastrointestinal infections.

Acute gastritis can be very painful for the animal, so seek medical help for your dog or cat if the symptoms persist.

Causes of Chronic Gastritis

The cause of chronic gastritis is often the ingestion of inedible objects. If something is ingested, and does not break down in the digestive system as food does, it may stay there for an extended period. This may slowly irritate the stomach lining, until it becomes inflamed. If the item does not ever break down and continues to irritate or block digestion, surgery may be necessary for removal.

Although not as common, chronic gastritis can be caused by serious systemic problems, such as gastrointestinal lymphoma, kidney disease, and liver disease. These disorders weaken the immune system and disrupt the natural processes involved in healthy digestion, and may slowly inflame the stomach lining. Cats exposed to Helicobacter bacteria can develop chronic gastritis. Antibiotics are very effective at fighting this bacteria.

Like acute gastritis, chronic gastritis may also be caused by an allergy to something in your pet's food, such as dairy, or a smaller ingredient like the type of color dye.

How to Prevent Gastritis in Dogs and Cats

The best and most effective way to prevent gastritis is to help your dog or cat avoid ingesting problematic items. If your pet is prone to eating garbage, make sure the garbage is out of their reach.

If your pet is allowed to roam in areas where they can find and swallow items not intended for digestion, clear the area of debris, or block them from access. Dogs and cats may not be able to associate eating certain things with the pain of gastritis, so the behavior may continue until it is a serious problem. Due to the number of various causes of gastritis, it can be impossible to prevent it entirely, but keeping your pet’s spaces free of small, easily swallowed items, can certainly help.

More on Potential Stomach Issues for Pets

Poisonous Foods for Dogs
Poisonous Foods for Cats
Pet Food and Treat Recalls

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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