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 that partially digested food passes through–becomes narrowed. Veterinarians also call this condition chronic hypertrophic pyloric gastropathy.

Although it’s a rare genetic disease, it appears more often in brachycephalic dogs–dogs with short snouts. Male dogs also have greater predisposition to pyloric stenosis. However, little is understood about the exact causes of the condition.

Narrowing of the digestive passageway can lead to symptoms like projectile vomiting, weight loss, and breathing problems. If you see the signs in your dog, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Here’s 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 often appear 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 show up later in life. Symptoms can vary in intensity based on how much the pylorus narrows.

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 weight loss are other common symptoms of pyloric stenosis in dogs. These symptoms will not go away with the administration of drugs.

Respiratory issues may also develop. As dogs regurgitate food, 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 vet right away.

Causes Of Pyloric Stenosis In Dogs

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The exact causes of pyloric stenosis in dogs are not well understood. Vets believe most cases are congenital, though some dogs acquire it later in life.

Certain brachycephalic breeds, including the Boxer, Boston Terrier, and Bulldog have greater predispositions 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 also face higher risk.

Certain conditions may increase the risk of developing pyloric stenosis, as w ell. 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 who suffer from dehydration due to vomiting. Further treatment is usually surgical.

There are several types of surgery that can vets can use to correct the condition. For some cases, vets can open the pylorus 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 vet will decide which kind of surgery is best for 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.

Do you watch your dog for symptoms like vomiting and breathing issues? Do you keep up with vet visits to find and treat problems early? Let us know in the comments below!