What is Gastritis?
Gastritis is a condition that describes inflammation, irritation or damage of the stomach lining. The stomach secretes acids needed for digestion but when the lining is irritated, symptoms arise that may bring about pain and discomfort.
It affects both dogs and cats, and episodes of gastritis may be mild to severe and, sometimes even requiring hospitalization. If left untreated gastritis may lead to more serious stomach disorders such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic gastritis and stomach cancer.
The common symptoms and signs of gastritis include:
- Nausea and belching
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Decreased appetite and water intake
What Causes Gastritis?
Gastritis may occur as a result of the following and these include:
- Eating spoiled food
- Eating too fast or too much
- Vigorous exercise or exercising too soon after a meal
- Swallowing foreign objects or toxic chemicals such as household detergents, pesticides or fertilizer
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection
- Food allergies
- Sudden diet changes
- Intolerance to certain foods such as lactose
- Anxiety, nervousness or excitement
- Ingesting medications
Gastritis is based on the symptoms presented as well as a physical examination. Certain tests such as blood tests, urine samples, feces analysis, and x-rays may be taken to determine the cause of gastritis. Sometimes additional testing which includes an abdominal ultrasound, radiograph or endoscopy may also be performed.
Help for Gastritis
Depending on the cause of gastritis your vet may prescribe various medications. If your pet has been vomiting for more than 24 hours, he will most likely be dehydrated and require fluids to rehydrate his body. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics, pain relievers and anti-emetics to relieve fever, vomiting and nausea.
Dogs and cats with acute gastritis may be given antacids such as Tagamet or stomach-soothing medications such as Pepto-Bismol. Your vet will also recommend that food and water be withheld for a certain period of time, followed by a bland diet like rice and chicken. In cases of chronic gastritis, your pet may require a change in diet permanently.
Herbal and homeopathic remedies may also provide a more natural alternative for the symptomatic relief of digestive problems in pets. These remedies are effective yet still gentle on your pet’s system without the harsh side effects of conventional medications.
Carefully selected herbal ingredients such as Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice), Ulmus fulva (Slippery elm) and Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow) acts as an excellent tonic for the entire digestive system which soothes the gastric mucus membranes, and also promote overall health and wellbeing.