As a dog owner, you always want your dog to be healthy. However, there are many health conditions that can affect your dog that you have little to no control over. One such condition is gastroesophageal reflux, commonly referred to as acid reflux. This is a common condition in dogs that most people do not know much about. Get to know some of the important facts about acid reflux in dogs. Then, you can be sure you are doing what you can for your dog if they develop this condition.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Essentially, acid reflux occurs when the "juices" in the stomach and intestines get backed up into the esophagus. These juices can escape into the esophagus if the opening of the esophagus that is usually contracted is relaxed for any reason.
What Causes Acid Reflux in Dogs?
There are a few different potential causes of acid reflux in dogs. One such condition is a congenital condition known as a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach passage is essentially in the wrong place, protruding into an area it shouldn't be in. Many veterinarians and specialists believe that having a hiatal hernia can increase the risk of developing acid reflux in dogs.
Another possible cause of acid reflux in dogs is anesthesia. Anesthesia can cause the muscle separating the esophagus and the stomach to relax, potentially leading to acid reflux.
What Dogs Are Most Prone to Acid Reflux?
Young dogs and puppies tend to be the most prone to developing acid reflux. However, any dog at any age potentially could have the condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Acid Reflux in Dogs?
Acid reflux, if mild, may have no noticeable symptoms in dogs because they cannot tell you they are in pain. However, if they start howling, whining, or otherwise indicating discomfort during or after eating, this is a telltale sign they have acid reflux.
Another sign of the condition is essentially spitting up. If your dog eats and immediately regurgitates some or all of their food, it may be because they have acid reflux. A lack of interest in food, decreased appetite, or weight loss can also be signs because the dog will avoid activities that make the condition more painful.
What Should You Do?
If you notice symptoms of acid reflux in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to run a series of diagnostic tests to determine what is causing your dog's symptoms. If it is acid reflux, your veterinarian will likely prescribe a low-protein, low-fat diet for your dog. They will also want you to first withhold food for a day or two to give your dog's esophagus a chance to rest and heal.
You can also get medications for your dog that can help their food move more efficiently through the esophagus and the entire digestive system. Medication may also help strengthen the muscles that control the opening between the esophagus and the stomach.
If your dog has a hiatal hernia, surgery may be an option to correct it. However, veterinarians often prefer to start with the more conservative treatment options first.
Now that you know more about acid reflux in dogs, you can call your veterinarian if you notice any of the symptoms of the condition in your dog.
For more information about veterinary services, visit a website like http://www.emergencypetclinics.com.