Today, we are looking at Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs and trying to find out what symptoms to look for and how to treat it.
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs?
Table Of Contents
- What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs?
- Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
- Causes of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
- Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
- Recovery of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
What is Gastroesophageal Reflex Disease in Dogs? Your dog may appear in distress or in pain and may show symptoms including whining and vomiting. They may regurgitate their meals and may lick objects or air. Your dog may also develop a fever.
Your dog may show symptoms at night when lying down, which causes more acid to flow back up the esophagus.
Symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an uncontrollable flow of stomach acid and fluids back into the esophagus. It can occur for many different reasons, including chronic vomiting and a brief relaxation of the esophageal sphincter.
Dogs can experience this condition at any age and can cause significant damage to the mucus lining of the esophagus.
A veterinarian may diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease in a dog based on the symptoms your dog is exhibiting. The most accurate diagnosis is through esophagoscopy, which involves viewing the lining of the esophagus with an endoscope.
During this exam, the veterinarian can assess the esophagus and observe the presence of mucus, active bleeding, or any irregularities.
Other alternative diagnoses include hiatal hernia, foreign body ingestion, or disease of the mouth or throat. In severe cases, blood work may reveal abnormalities in these areas.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an unpleasant condition for your dog. The stomach produces acid that blocks the esophagus, causing inflammation.
This can cause coughing, lethargy, vomiting, and weight loss. While gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs may seem like a harmless condition, it can also lead to more serious problems, such as esophageal ulceration and hematemesis.
Another symptom of gastroesophageal reflux in dogs is regurgitation after eating. Regurgitation is not the same as vomiting because regurgitation occurs passively.
In dogs with gastric reflux, they often lick air to swallow. This can be difficult to detect with a physical exam, but if you notice a licking of the mouth, it could be an indicator of gastric reflux.
Causes of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
There are several causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease among dogs. This condition is most common in young dogs, and Shar-Peis are over-represented among cases.
However, gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs can affect any breed and can be mistaken for other upper GI conditions.
The condition usually presents with esophagitis, and the severity depends on the degree of damage to the esophageal lining.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, doctors may prescribe medication or nutritional management to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease in canines.
However, for some dogs, lifestyle changes are enough to reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
A veterinarian will also recommend a low-fat diet and altering the dog’s portions since fatty foods can worsen the condition.
Aside from being overweight, other causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease include a weakened esophageal sphincter and anesthetics.
Another cause is a hernia, a defect in the stomach that pushes part of the stomach through the diaphragm.
Chronic vomiting can also contribute to gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs.
Although the esophageal sphincter is essential to prevent acid from flowing back up into the esophagus, a weak esophageal sphincter valve can result in gastroesophageal reflux in dogs.
The weakened sphincter can result from surgery or anesthesia. Chronic vomiting can also weaken the sphincter, and the stomach can tilt forward.
The main cause of GERD in dogs is the incompetence of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This valve prevents stomach acid from flowing backward. It also affects the esophagus’ mobility, which is important for transporting food through the esophagus.
However, dogs suffering from GERD usually exhibit clinical signs of esophagitis, and it is important to identify the causes and treatment options for the condition.
Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
The diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux requires several tests and lifestyle changes. In some cases, a foreign body can be removed or a hiatal hernia may be the cause of the reflux. If the dog’s symptoms are more severe, surgery may be needed to repair the hiatal hernia.
Although this procedure is usually invasive, there are newer techniques that may be performed in dogs. A low-fat diet and increased water consumption are two common ways to manage the disease in dogs.
If a veterinarian suspects gastroesophageal reflux disease, a thoracoscopy will help confirm the diagnosis. This type of test uses an internal camera to see the lining of the esophagus. It can reveal an irregular mucus lining, as well as bleeding or ulceration.
Alternative diagnoses include a foreign body, caustic agent ingestion, or disease of the mouth or throat. In some cases, a vet may perform an endoscopic examination to determine the underlying medical problem.
The diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs is based on clinical symptoms and is more likely to occur in puppies than older dogs.
While this condition can affect any breed, Shar-Peis are over-represented among canine GERD patients.
Diagnosis is complicated by the fact that symptoms are often misdiagnosed as signs of other upper GI problems.
The diagnostic process for gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs may be different than the diagnosis for humans. However, some dogs may experience a mild form of esophagitis that involves inflammation of the esophageal lining while others may suffer from ulcerative esophageal disease.
Diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease in dog may be complicated by a clinical history and a physical exam. In severe cases, a dog may have fever, vomiting, and excessive salivation.
Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
While there is no specific cure for gastroesophageal reflux in dogs, veterinarians can use natural antacids to prevent acid reflux in the first place.
Diets low in fat and protein are recommended for dogs who suffer from acid reflux. These foods will further aggravate the condition and can result in an esophagoscopy.
In addition, high-fat foods can worsen acid reflux, so your dog should be on a low-fat diet.
A diagnostic test may reveal a condition that is accompanied by laryngitis. Radiographs can also show evidence of esophagitis or esophageal ulcers.
Endoscopic surgery may also be necessary for severe cases, if hernia or other conditions cause the reflux.
Most dogs with gastroesophageal reflux will return to normal within 24 to 36 hours of surgery, and dietary changes will also improve symptoms.
Acid reflux in dogs is an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous condition. It occurs when the contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus.
Depending on the cause, the acid may damage the esophageal lining and lead to a variety of problems. During the initial phase of gastroesophageal reflux disease, the lower esophageal sphincter should keep stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. If left untreated, however, the condition may worsen, requiring surgery to fix.
Surgical treatments for dogs with GERD may require esophagus surgery. This procedure will be necessary if the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux have worsened beyond control.
However, a specialized diet and antacid medications are effective treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs.
Surgical procedures are also necessary if GERD is caused by an anatomical problem.
Recovery of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
The symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease in dogs can vary widely. These symptoms can range from persistent bad breath to painful gagging.
In severe cases, the dog may be inactive after eating. Some dogs may experience fever or excessive salivation. The most important thing to do in this situation is to seek medical attention. If you have suspected that your pet is suffering from GERD, here are some things to consider.
One of the best ways to detect GER is to check oesophageal pH during general anesthesia. This is because GER often goes undetected during the peri-anesthetic period, and vomiting is not a common symptom.
The most common complications of GER are post-anesthetic esophagitis, oesophageal strictures, and aspiration pneumonia.
These complications are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
Recovery of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Dogs
A dog with gastroesophageal reflux disease will have symptoms similar to those of acid reflux in humans. However, unlike humans, it’s typically caused by an overproduction of stomach acid, rather than an underproduction.
Acid reflux in dogs occurs when the esophagus, the tube connecting the stomach to the mouth, fails to close properly. When this happens, acid reflux can cause pain and discomfort, which will eventually lead to a painful esophagus.
Diagnostic tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. An oesophageal camera is passed down the esophagus to visualize the mucosal lining.
The results can indicate whether reflux is a symptom of an underlying medical problem or if further diagnostics are necessary.
Recovery of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease depends on how severe the condition is. Treatment usually involves modifying diet, medications, and surgery.