Pyloric Stenosis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Pyloric stenosis in dogs is a condition where the pyloris–the passage from the stomach to the small intestine through which partially digestive food passes–becomes narrowed. This condition is also known as chronic hypertrophic pyloric gastropathy. Although it is a rare genetic disease, it is more often found in brachycephalic dogs–dogs with short snouts. Male dogs are also more predisposed to pyloric stenosis, though little is understood about the exact causes of the condition. Narrowing of the digestive passageway can result in symptoms like projectile vomiting, weight loss, and breathing problems. If you see the signs of pyloric stenosis in your dog, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of pyloric stenosis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Pyloric Stenosis In Dogs

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The symptoms of pyloric stenosis in dogs are often observed at a young age when the condition is congenital, meaning present from birth. Typically this happens when puppies begin eating solid food. The condition may also be acquired later in life. Symptoms can vary in intensity based on how much the pylorus has narrowed.

Intermittent vomiting, which can be projectile and may occur several hours after eating, is the most common symptom. The vomit may contain undigested food. Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss are other common symptoms of pyloric stenosis in dogs. These symptoms will not be alleviated with the administration of drugs.

Respiratory issues may also develop. As food is regurgitated, stomach contents may get caught in the lungs and lead to conditions like aspiration pneumonia. This condition can be life-threatening if oxygen flow to the airways is cut off. If your dog shows signs of breathing problems, get to the veterinarian right away.

Causes Of Pyloric Stenosis In Dogs

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The exact causes of pyloric stenosis in dogs are not well understood. Most cases are believed to be congenital, though some are acquired later in life. Certain brachycephalic breeds, including the Boxer, Boston Terrier, and Bulldog are predisposed to congenital pyloric stenosis, while other breeds such as the Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Poodle, and Rottweiler are more prone to acquiring the condition later on. Male dogs are also more at risk.

There are some conditions that may increase the risk of developing pyloric stenosis. These include tumors, chronic stress, gastritis, ulcers, or an increase in a hormone called gastrin.

Treatments For Pyloric Stenosis In Dogs

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Treatment for pyloric stenosis in dogs may begin with intravenous fluid therapy for dogs that are dehydrated due to vomiting. Further treatment is usually surgical. There are several types of surgery that can be used by veterinarians to correct the condition. For some cases, the pylorus can be opened up so digested material can pass more easily from the stomach to the intestines. For more severe cases, the procedure involves bypassing the pylorus altogether. The veterinarian will decide which kind of surgery is best suited to an affected dogs’ situation.

Some dogs do manage to recover without surgical intervention, but this requires antiemetic medication and strict dietary management, and because of the refractory nature of pyloric stenosis, it is often not enough to fight off the condition completely. Surgery is more curative and solves the problem in most cases.

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