Stomach Ulcers In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Stomach ulcers in dogs are sores or lesions that form in the lining of the stomach, which protects the organ from damage caused by gastric acid that aids in digestion. Signs of stomach ulcers in dogs often include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weakness among other symptoms. There are many possible causes of stomach ulcers in dogs, and though ulcers are usually treatable, 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 the signs of a stomach ulcer in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian immediately so they can form a diagnosis, determine any underlying causes, and form a treatment plan. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for stomach ulcers in dogs.

Symptoms Of Stomach Ulcers In Dogs

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In some rare cases, dogs that have stomach ulcers will show no symptoms; however, the condition is usually painful and it is likely that you will see signs if your dog suffers from a stomach ulcer. If your dog is showing any of the usual symptoms of a stomach ulcer, you should see a veterinarian immediately. Here are a few signs that you might see in dogs with stomach ulcers.

  • Abdominal pain, often visible by a “bowing” posture
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Black or bloody stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Salivation
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Dehydration
  • Pale gums

In severe cases you may notice more extreme symptoms. Here are some symptoms of severe stomach ulcers in dogs.

  • Anemia
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Disorientation
  • Shock

Causes Of Stomach Ulcers In Dogs

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There are many health conditions that can lead to the formation of stomach ulcers 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.

  • Ingesting toxic substances
  • Exposure to certain drugs, especially long-term medications like corticosteroids or NSAIDs
  • Ingesting foreign objects
  • Excessively fatty diet
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Chronic gastritis
  • Allergies
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Addison’s disease
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Tumors of the pancreas or duodenum
  • Lymphoma
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Other cancers
  • Shock
  • Stress

Treatments For Stomach Ulcers In Dogs

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Treatment for stomach ulcers in dogs often depends on the severity of the condition. In cases where the ulcer has perforated the wall of the stomach may require surgery. If a dog has suffered from dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea, intravenous fluids may be needed to restore hydration and electrolytes. Veterinary treatment will also focus on the underlying cause of the stomach ulcer.

Veterinarians will usually prescribe an antacid medication to reduce the level of stomach acid and allow the ulcer to heal. They will also likely prescribe dietary changes. Dogs that 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, antibiotics will be prescribed.

There are several natural treatments for ulcers, as well. Many dog owners 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 should ask your veterinarian 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!