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Pyloric Stenosis in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

While pyloric Stenosis is a condition that can affect cats, it is far more common in dogs so we will focus our discussion on our canine friends.  That said, however, much of the information discussed below will be equally applicable to our feline friends, so if you feel that your cat may be suffering from this condition, feel free to keep on reading because we think that you, too, will be able to find a lot of valuable information here as well.


At the end of the day, whether it’s a dog or cat with this condition, one should not take its presence lightly!  You see, pyloric stenosis is a medical condition that affects the tubing that allows the stomach to pass food onto the small intestine, where it can be ‘processed’ by the body.  This can develop into a hazardous condition because it prevents your poor pup from gaining any nutrients from the food they eat.

In fact…

Dogs with this condition can eat all they like, and it won’t pass through the body. Instead, the “unfortunate” pooch will vomit it back up again.  And while this is undoubtedly going to be quite unpleasant for you and your housekeeping abilities, it is pretty severe for the dog.  You see, prolonged exposure to this condition can lead to starvation in undiagnosed dogs, ending ultimately in death.

The main problem is…

It’s not only hard to diagnose this tricky condition, but it is also only treatable via surgery. So, if your dog contracts this condition, you can bet on the fact that it will be pretty costly to fix!  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a moment and take a closer look at Pyloric Stenosis and find out what it is, what it does, and how we go about treating or identifying it so that if you do find yourself in the position of owning a dog that develops this condition, you’ll be better prepared to know what to expect!

So, what is pyloric stenosis in dogs?

The first thing we should probably mention about pyloric Stenosis is that it is also sometimes referred to by its slightly longer name of Chronic Hypertrophic Pyloric Gastropathy, so if you’ve been given this diagnosis, know that it’s pretty much the same thing as pyloric stenosis absent 15 or 20 letters or so.

And what happens…

When a dog develops pyloric stenosis, the Pyloric Sphincter (the tubing above that connects the small intestine and the stomach) becomes blocked somehow, preventing nutrients from completing their journey. Unable to pass through, the food has only one place to go…back up.

As a result, gastric problems will occur in dogs with this disease as the duodenum (the start of the small intestine) and the stomach remains connected, but the connection is blocked. The ‘Hypertrophic’ part means that the Pyloric Sphincter has thickened over time, either in itself or the stomach lining around it. In either case, the new thickening has caused Pyloric Obstruction and is slowly damaging the dog.  Additionally, the Pyloric Canal, this little piece of tubing, can become blocked for various reasons.


Little is known about why it develops, but scientists have connected this condition with the overproduction of Gastrin.  This “overproduction” in some cases seems to be inherited via DNA from a parent; in other cases, it is developed over time.  At any rate, this second variant usually happens in dogs older than ten years of age.

That said…

Regardless of “why” your dog has developed a blockage, what remains the same is that this blockage of the gastric outlet via hypertrophy of the muscle or stomach lining means that your dog will regurgitate most of what you feed it. The disease is characterized by weight loss and excessive, recurrent vomiting.  So if your dog can’t keep anything down all of a sudden and is either still a puppy under one year old or over the age of ten, then this disease might well be the cause. Take them to the vet immediately and tell them of the symptoms.

We should also point out…

The Pylorus is particularly small in Brachycephalic dog breeds (dogs that have short snouts, to the less scientific among us) and is, therefore, more common among these dog types.  And since this condition does seem to be inherited in some cases, it is always worth investigating what your breeder knows about your pup’s familial health. If a parent has this condition, then there is a high chance your dog will get it too. The only known prevention of this disease is to stop breeding affected dogs. However, since there is a second variant related to gastrin production and levels, even that is not a foolproof method.

Commonly Affected Breeds

As we mentioned above, any Brachycephalic breed has a chance of inheriting this condition and has a higher probability than other breed types of developing it over time

Known species affected by this condition are:

Please remember that any dog or mixed breed dog can develop this condition over time.

Treatment Options

The treatment options your vet will offer will depend on your pet’s particular variant and where the instruction lies. In all cases, this disease is tricky to diagnose and will require a Barium X-ray test.  In this test, the dog is fed the Barium, and the X-ray shows how far through the system it gets. If it has not passed through the Pyloric Sphincter, they can tell there is a problem. They can also notify via this procedure where precisely the problem lies.

Once the diagnosis is…

If achieved, your vet will want to schedule surgery. There are four options here. A Gastrojejunostomy bypasses the Pylorus and the duodenum, whereas a Pyroplasty opens a flap that allows nutrients to pass through.  A Gastroduodenostomy will forget the Pylorus alone, while the final option, a Pyloromyotomy, slices straight through the obstructive muscle.

This brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.  This is why, if you feel your pet may have pyloric stenosis (or any other health issue), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!  This is also 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 suitable 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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