Gastritis in dogs and cats is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach. The term gastric refers to the stomach, and –itis indicates inflammation. This condition is very common in both animals, and is linked to numerous causes.
Gastritis can be acute (sudden), or chronic (slow to develop). Because gastritis is so common, it affects dogs and cats off all ages, and because it can be very painful, veterinary treatment may be necessary.
There are many possible causes of gastritis, typically involving the ingestion of nonedible, or highly irritating products or items. However, gastritis may be caused by reactions to medications or foods. There are several disorders, such as kidney failure, liver failure, or intestinal parasites, which can cause the stomach lining to inflame and result in gastritis. Sometimes the animal may be suffering from a much more serious problem including gastrointestinal lymphoma (stomach cancer), or it can be a mild irritation such as stress. Because there are so many possible causes of gastritis, be sure to take your dog or cat to the veterinarian for testing if the symptoms persist.
The most common symptom of gastritis is vomiting. Additionally, stomach pain indicated by debilitation--your pet moving as though they are in pain, or not much at all--is a sign of gastritis. Other symptoms are dehydration, diarrhea, excessive salivation, blood in the stool or vomit, loss of appetite, weakness, weight loss, and a dull coat. Since gastritis is often a symptom of another problem, there may be additional symptoms not associated with gastritis, but may be associated with the root cause.
Often treatment for gastritis begins by withholding food from the dog or cat for a period up to forty-eight hours. This allows the stomach lining to recover without having to deal with any further assault or abrasion. Water is only given in small amounts throughout the day to prevent the animal from ingesting the water too quickly or in large amounts, which can induce more vomiting. If this does not solve the gastritis, the dog or cat may need to receive nutrients and hydration intravenously. Once the symptoms of gastritis have subsided, food may be reintroduced, but ideally only bland low-fat meals until your pet has fully recovered. Your vet may also prescribe a medication such as Famotidine to help ease your pet's stomach during this whole process. Using a daily pet supplement for gastrointestinal health can also act as a preventive measure.
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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.