Stomach ulcers in dogs are sores or lesions that form in the lining of the stomach. The lining protects the stomach from damage caused by gastric acid that aids in digestion.
Signs of these ulcers in dogs often include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weakness among other symptoms.
There are many possible causes, and though vets can often treat ulcers, there are some extreme cases where an untreated ulcer can lead to anemia or perforations in the stomach that cause sepsis, shock, or even death.
If you see symptoms in your dog, you must consult your veterinarian right away so they can form a diagnosis, find any underlying causes, and prescribe a treatment plan. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for stomach ulcers in dogs.
Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers In Dogs
In some rare cases, dogs who have stomach ulcers show no symptoms; however, the condition is usually painful, and it’s likely that you will see signs in your dog if they have ulcers.
If your dog is showing any of the typical symptoms, you should see your vet immediately.
Here are a few signs that you might see:
- Abdominal pain, often visible by a “bowing” posture
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Chronic vomiting
- Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- Black or bloody stool
- Anxiety or irritability
- Pale gums
In severe cases you may also notice more extreme symptoms. Here are some further symptoms of severe stomach ulcers in dogs:
- Loss of consciousness
Causes Of Stomach Ulcers In Dogs
There are many conditions that can cause stomach ulcers to form in dogs. Conditions that cause excessive acid in the stomach or break down the protective lining can cause ulcers to form.
Here are a few possible causes of stomach ulcers in dogs:
- Eating or drinking toxic substances
- Exposure to certain drugs, especially long-term medications like corticosteroids or NSAIDs
- Eating foreign objects
- Diet too high in fat
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic gastritis
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Addison’s disease
- Liver or kidney disease
- Tumors of the pancreas or duodenum
- Mast cell tumors
- Other cancers
Treatment for stomach ulcers in dogs often depends on the severity of the condition. In cases where the ulcer perforates the wall of the stomach, for example, dogs may require surgery.
Dogs who suffer from dehydration due to vomiting or diarrhea may need intravenous fluids to restore hydration and electrolytes. Treatment will also focus on the underlying cause of the ulcer.
Vets usually prescribe antacid medication to reduce stomach acid and allow the ulcer to heal. They’ll also likely prescribe dietary changes. Dogs who have stomach ulcers should stick to low-fat, bland foods so they can heal and prevent more ulcers from forming.
If there is a bacterial cause of the ulcers, then vets will prescribe antibiotics.
Some pet parents try natural treatments for ulcers, as well. They may use licorice root, aloe vera, slippery elm, echinacea, or alfalfa. Certain supplements such as L-glutamine and quercetine can also strengthen the immune system and prevent new ulcers from forming.
You must ask your vet about these treatments before offering them to your dog.
Has your dog ever suffered from a stomach ulcer? How did you treat it? Let us know in the comments below!