The condition or disease explained in this medical short article can affect both dogs and felines.
Gastroesophageal Reflux in Dogs
Gastroesophageal reflux is a condition characterized by the uncontrollable reverse circulation of stomach or intestinal fluids into the tube linking the throat and the stomach (esophagus). This might be due to a short relaxation of the muscular opening at the base of the esophagus (referred to as the sphincter), along with chronic vomiting. Gastroesophageal reflux is relatively common in dogs, and may occur at any age, although more youthful dogs are at greater risk.
The gastric stomach acid, pepsin, bile salts, and other elements of the gastrointestinal juices cause damage to the protective mucus lining the esophagus. This can result in inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis).
Symptoms and Types
Gastroesophageal reflux can cause esophagitis with varying quantities of damage. Mild esophagitis is limited to a mild inflammation of the esophageal lining, while more severe ulcerative esophagitis causes damage to the deeper layers of the esophagus.
The dog’s behavioral history can expose symptoms such as spitting up (regurgitation) of food, proof of pain (whining or growling, for instance) while swallowing, absence of appetite, and weight loss. A physical examination will frequently not reveal any concrete findings. Severe esophagitis may include symptoms of fever and extreme salivation.
Causes of Acid Reflux in Dogs
Gastroesophageal reflux may take place when an anesthetic is administered, triggering the opening in between the stomach and the esophagus (gastroesophageal sphincter) to unwind. Inappropriate positioning of the patient during anesthesia, as well as a failure to quick the dog correctly prior to anesthesia, can lead to gastroesophageal reflux.
An associated condition is a congenital (present at birth) hiatal hernia, which is suspected of heightening the risk for gastroesophageal reflux.
Young dogs are at higher risk of developing this condition because their gastroesophageal sphincters are still establishing. Long-term or chronic vomiting is another risk element.
The best ways of diagnosis is typically an esophagoscopy, an assessment which uses an internal electronic camera to see the lining of the esophagus. This is the most efficient method to figure out if changes in the mucus of the esophagus follow esophagitis due to gastroesophageal reflux. The examination may also reveal an irregular surface area in the mucus lining, or active bleeding in the esophagus.
Alternative diagnoses include intake of a caustic representative, a foreign body or tumor in the esophagus, a hernia in the upper portion of the stomach (hiatal hernia), disease of the throat or mouth, or a condition in dogs where the muscles of the esophagus do not function correctly in pushing food into the stomach (megaesophagus).
Treatment for Acid Reflux in Dogs
Many treatment is done at home, by withholding food for one to two days, and thereafter following a dietary regimen of low-fat, low-protein meals given up small, frequent feedings. Dietary fat and protein must be limited, as fat reduces the strength of the muscle between the stomach and esophagus, while protein stimulates the secretion of gastric acid.
Medications are an extra option. Drugs known as gastrointestinal pro-kinetic agents enhance the motion of stomach contents through the intestines as well as strengthens the gastroesophageal sphincter. Despite any medications, a change in diet is suggested.
Living and Management
After initial treatment and modification of diet, it is a good idea to continue monitoring for gastroesophageal reflux. Expect signs of discomfort. An ongoing low-fat, low-protein diet will prevent future incidences, and high-fat foods should be prevented, as they may intensify gastroesophageal reflux.
If the dog does not respond to preliminary medical treatments, a follow-up esophagoscopy may be advised.
High-fat foods can get worse acid reflux. The best avoidance is a healthy diet that is low in fatty foods.