Acid reflux in dogs is actually a condition that is known as Gastroesophageal reflux, and it is characterized by a reverse flow of intestinal or gastric fluids that is uncontrollable, and brings the fluids up into the tube that connects the stomach and the throat to one another, the esophagus. There are a couple of different things that may cause an occurrence of acid reflux in dogs, including a brief relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, the muscular opening at the base of the esophagus. Another cause for acid reflux in dogs is chronic issues with vomiting. In both dogs and cats this acid reflux can be relatively common, and although younger animals tend to be at a greater risk, acid reflux in dogs and cats may occur at any age.
This disease is not a healthy occurrence in dogs or in any other animal for that matter because the stomach acid, bile salts, pepsin and other gastrointestinal components are capable of causing damage to the protective lining of the esophagus. This can quickly result in an inflammation of the esophagus, a phenomenon known as Esophagitis.
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The first step to analyzing the symptoms when you believe that your dog has Gastroesophageal reflux is to take a look at his or her behavioral history. The history of your dog's behavior can reveal a lot. For example, if a dog is spitting up or regurgitating food, whining or howling to indicate pain during swallowing, is losing weight or appears to have less of an appetite than usual, these are potential signs that your dog is dealing with this condition. Physical examinations may not always be able to reveal concrete findings regarding acid reflux in dogs. Severe esophagitis on the other hand may be easier to diagnose as it offers additional symptoms including fever and extreme amounts of salivation.
Acid reflux is capable of causing esophagitis with a varying amount of damage possible. Mild esophagitis caused by acid reflux in dogs may be limited to a mild amount of inflammation of the sensitive lining of the esophagus, while more severe levels of esophagitis may cause damage to deeper layers of tissue within the esophagus, causing greater harm. Acid reflux may occur in dogs any time that an anesthetic is administered, as this causes the gastroesophageal sphincter to relax enough to create the reverse flow of the stomach's contents into the esophagus. If the dog is positioned improperly during anesthesia or fails to fast properly before anesthesia is admitted, acid reflux may occur as a result.
Because younger dogs are still developing, their underdeveloped gastroesophageal sphincters put them at greater risk. The best means of diagnosis is the use of an esophagoscopy. This is an examination that uses an internal camera in order to view the esophagus and its lining. Changes in the mucus lining the inside of the esophagus will indicate whether or not acid reflux has caused damage to the sensitive tissue.
Most treatment for acid reflux in dogs can be done at home. Food should be withheld for a day or two, and then a low fat and low protein diet should be administered. Acid reflux in dogs can be combated by feeding small and frequent meals, and dietary fats and proteins should be significantly limited. This is because the fat in the food can decrease the strength of the muscle keeping the esophagus and stomach separated, and the protein in the food can stimulate the secretion of gastric acid into the esophagus. Another option for combating acid reflux in dogs is to administer medicine in the form of a gastrointestinal pro-kinetic agent. These medications are capable of improving the movement of the stomach contents through the intestines, and are also capable of strengthening the gastroesophageal sphincter. Even when on medication, however, a change in diet is necessary for combating acid reflux on a long term basis.Tell Me About Acid Reflux in Dogs Dog Food For Sensitive Stomachs