Dog Stomach Ulcers
Definition of Ulcers
Stomach ulcers, also called gastric ulcers, are sores or disruptions in the lining of the stomach. Ulcers can penetrate deeply into the sensitive layers of the stomach wall and be extremely painful. They can be caused by a number of things, including ingestion of caustic substances or foreign objects, administration of irritating medications, stress, shock, allergies, infection, cancer, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, Addison’s disease, liver disease and kidney failure. Dogs suffering from stomach ulcers often vomit and have abdominal pain manifested by a “praying” or “bowing” posture. They tend to be depressed, weak, nervous and anxious. Their appetite wanes and they lose weight, become dehydrated, disoriented and may even collapse. One of the most important complications of stomach ulcers is anemia, which is caused by the loss of blood that accompanies this condition. In severe cases, the stomach can perforate or burst, causing septic peritonitis, shock and sudden death.
Gastric ulcers can be caused by many things. Common causes include:Dietary modification and management can help prevent stomach ulcers and may also reduce the severity of symptoms in dogs already suffering from severe gastric ulceration. Highly digestible diets reduce the inflammation and irritation associated with ulcers. Feeding small meals multiple times a day can also help relieve gastrointestinal irritation. Dogs should always have free access to fresh water, unless advised otherwise by a veterinarian.Certain medications
The symptoms of gastric ulcers are very similar to those of gastritis, which is a general term for inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach. They include:In severe cases, the blood loss from gastric ulcers can cause even more severe symptoms, including:Any dog with chronic vomiting that includes evidence of digested blood may have gastric ulcers and should be seen by a veterinarian.Gastric ulcers can affect dogs of any age, breed or gender. Certain
Any dog that is vomiting frequently, and whose vomitus contains material that looks like coffee grounds, should be suspected of having gastric ulcers. A veterinarian presented with this history will conduct a thorough physical examination, including a rectal examination, and will take a comprehensive case history. She also typically will draw blood for a complete blood count and serum biochemistry panel. The initial data base usually includes a urinalysis, as well. The results of these
Stomach ulcers usually can be well-managed medically. Ulcers that have perforated the stomach wall require immediate hospitalization and surgical correction. Severe stomach ulcers that have not yet perforated the stomach wall may also require hospitalization and intravenous fluid replacement therapies, blood transfusions and nutritional or electrolytic support. Other treatment options include supportive care, dietary modification, medication and lifestyle changes. The goals of treating gastric ulcers are to identify and remove the underlying cause of the