Pet insurance companies call it a pre-existing condition. I call it gastritis.

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Canine Gastritis

Gastritis is inflammation of the stomach lining. It is a common condition.


Gastritis can be or chronic or acute. Both can be caused by the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Food allergy

Many times, acute gastritis is brought on by:

  • Viruses, bacteria, or parasites
  • Spoiled food
  • Plant material
  • Eating hair
  • Eating fertilizers
  • Swallowing cleaning agents
  • Human medications: lead aspirin, antibiotics, steroids

Chronic gastritistends to be caused by a long-term exposure to:

  • Any of the causes listed for acute gastritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Stomach cancer

Chronic gastritis means your dog has been vomiting for longer than 2 weeks. Acute gastritis usually lasts for less than 24 hours. The main causes are from dietary indiscretions: eating spoiled or raw food, eating non-food like garbage or cat litter, eating too much food, exposure to mold, etc. Most dogs will recover quickly.


The main symptom is constant vomiting.

Othersigns can include:

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive thirst
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Abdominal pain
  • Black stool
  • Blood in the vomit or feces


In acute cases, your veterinarian will perform blood and urine tests to determine the cause of inflammation

In chronic cases, your veterinarian may perform additional tests, including:

  • Fecal exam
  • Abdominal x-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Endoscopy with biopsy


Acute cases can usually be resolved without medication. Your veterinarian will most likely recommend the following:

  • Withhold food for 24 hours, which allows the stomach to rest
  • Offer small amounts of water
  • If your dog does not vomit for 24 hours, offer it a small amount of a bland food
  • Gradually increase the amount of food over the next few days
  • If vomiting returns, withhold all food and drinks and call your veterinarian

Chronic gastritis will be treated based on the cause of inflammation. If your dog is unstable, hospitalization may be necessary for IV fluids and anti-vomiting medications.

If your dog is in stable condition, your veterinarian will decide on treatment and medication depending on what is causing the gastritis.They may prescribe stomach protectants, anti-vomiting medications, or antacids to help ease your dog's discomfort.


The best preventative measure against gastritis is toavoid any medication or substance that may cause the condition.


The prognosis is very good for acute gastritis. The prognosis for chronic gastritis depends on the cause.

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