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Gastric Ulcers in Dogs… How to diagnosis, and treatment options.

As an “human” can tell you, suffering from a gastric ulcer isn’t fun.  Which is why, if you suspect that your dog may be suffering from one, you’re definitely going to want to get him or her to a veterinarian right away!

After all…

The last thing that you want him or her to have to deal with is suffering from any unnecessary pain.  But let’s face it, it can be hard for you as an owner to recognize when their loved one is suffering from a gastric ulcer.

Which is why…

In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss what are some of the things you may be able to notice which could mean that your dog is suffering and should be brought to his or her vet asap!

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What is a Gastric Ulcer?

A gastric ulcer is basically an ulcer that occurs in the stomach.  Now it’s important to understand that “ulcers” can occur in a variety of locations all throughout the body, especially throughout the digestive track.

Now…

With this in mind, it’s also important to understand that the location of an ulcer will go a long way in determining how “severe” an ulcer may be and how one should go about treating it.

This is why…

In this article, we’re going to stay focused on just “gastric” ulcers which occur only within the stomach.  Now when a dog gets a gastric ulcer it’s disrupting the gastric mucosa.

This means that…

The mucosal blood flow has changed. The mucous membrane will also be disrupted and will likely impact the epithelial layer (or top layer) of the stomach lining.

All of which will…

Likely have a negative impact on your dog’s overall “gastric health”.

Symptoms & Clinical Signs of Gastric Ulcers

The unfortunate thing about gastric ulcers is that the majority of them will simply go undetected.  Sure, they may cause some discomfort, but the likelihood of you being able to notice this within your dog’s behavior is likely to be very small.

But don’t feel bad…

Because the truth is, most gastric ulcers in humans go undetected as well!  Most folks, and we presume dogs simply go about their lives thinking that the slight discomfort that they’re feeling is normal.  And if they experience this discomfort every time they eat, why wouldn’t they?

Now as an…

Observant dog owner, you can increase your chances of possibly detecting a gastric ulcer in your pet if you pay particular attention to their behavior and note any changes in the color or size of their stools as well as keep an eye out for any clinic signs such as:

  • Black, mushy stool that looks like tar
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss, lack of interest in food or eating
  • Look of stress
  • Vomiting or the desire to vomit
  • Dog moans or a sad look on his/her doggie face that’s more intense or regular than standard “puppy dog eyes”
  • General signs of pain

Bleeding that may lead to blood in stool or vomit Causes of Gastric Ulcers

Causes of Gastric Ulcers in Dogs.

Gastric ulcers in dogs can be caused by a variety of conditions including:

  • Infections (bacteria or fungal).
  • As well as exposure to long-term medication, particularly antibiotics.

That said however…

Gastric Ulcers do not seem to be a breed-specific disease or illness.  Or to put it another way, any dog can develop a gastric ulcer during his or her lifetime.

And while it is true…

That infections and extended exposure to antibiotics are the most common causes of gastric ulcers in dogs, it should be noted that some gastric ulcers can also be caused by a wide variety of more “serious” conditions.

Conditions such as:

  • Stomach cancer,
  • Mast cell tumors,
  • Kidney failure (chronic or acute),
  • Liver disease,
  • Hepatic disease,
  • And gastrinomas.

Fortunately…

These “other causes” are much less common than infections and prolonged medication use, but because these causes also disrupt the production of acid within the stomach, they too are known to cause gastric ulcers in dogs.

Diagnosing Gastric Ulcers in Dogs

Now that you’ve seen the signs of a gastric ulcer it’s time to let the veterinarian give a proper diagnosis. The vet may send the dog’s blood for testing to look for things like anemia (low iron). This could indicate a gastric ulcer.

Also…

X-rays may be a part of the diagnostic process. Lastly, your dog may get an endoscopy and then a biopsy of any foreign lesions.

Treatment of Gastric Ulcers in Dogs

The next step is getting your dog to heal from a gastric ulcer. Since usually there is an underlying cause, it’s more about treating that then the ulcer. If antibiotics are the culprit, your vet will probably tell you to stop those immediately, if possible, or they may try and change your dogs medication in an effort to minimize his or her symptoms.

Now if…

Your dog’s stomach is bleeding profusely, your vet may have to do something about it immediately. This could mean one of two things: surgery or infusing the stomach with ice water to get the bleeding to stop.

Which sounds…

Really serious, and guess what, it is!  This is why, we always advise any of our readers to always have a professional check out their pet anytime they suspect anything might be wrong with him or her.

Because remember…

We here at IndulgeYourPet aren’t doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

“So, when in doubt, have a vet check it out!”

This is particularly important…
When it comes to treating a gastric ulcer because not only can an early diagnosis reduce the amount of pain and suffering your dog may have to endure, it could also save you a TON of money when it comes to treating your dogs condition!

Cost of diagnosis and treatment

The cost of diagnosis and treatment of a gastric ulcer in a dog, will entirely depend on what treatment that is necessary.

This is because…

Impossible to see the stomach without diagnostic help, there will be a bit of cost involved for diagnosis, but treatment may not be much if you just have to stop antibiotics.

That said however…

You should be mentally prepared to spend at least $300 and up to $1000 or more if the “cause” of your dog’s gastric ulcer(s) is more complicated that just changing his or her medications.

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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