Canine acid reflux isn't an acute problem; it's a chronic condition that needs to be monitored over the course of a dog's life. It can get better or worse as a dog ages. Diagnosing acid reflux in dogs is tough, because the same symptoms can indicate other disorders. Watch your dog carefully and describe the symptoms experienced to your veterinarian---he or she can run definitive diagnostic tests and prescribe the right course of treatment for acid reflux in dogs.
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Know what's normal for your dog---changes in behaviour signal illness and alert pet owners that something isn't right. Dogs experiencing acid reflux might appear listless and tired. They might not show as much interest as before in daily activities and might opt to nap or lie down instead of play. Acid reflux in dogs can be exacerbated by intense activities, such as running or jumping. Dogs suffering from acid reflux avoid pain by avoiding moderate to intense activities. Acid reflux is sometimes painful: your dog might react to this pain by howling or crying during or after eating, or while swallowing, as a result of burns to the throat. "The Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians" cautions awareness that dogs experiencing acid reflux may be more easily agitated or upset than usual and might exhibit aggression or fear. A dog who wouldn't usually bite might do so when approached because of the pain associated with acid reflux. Physical signs of pain can be present all the time or particularly after eating.
Regurgitation and Vomiting
Dogs with acid reflux may regurgitate their food after eating. Not to be confused with vomiting, regurgitation happens shortly after food is consumed, whereas vomiting involves food that is rejected from the stomach. Regurgitation is distinguished from vomit by the very obvious presence of food in the content of the mess. Dogs with acid reflux regurgitate food because of pain or the increase of acid in the stomach. Other times dogs can vomit spit, bile and acid from the stomach. "Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians" mentions that vomiting and regurgitation can cause ulcerative sores in the throat when left untreated.
A very subtle symptom is the noise your dog's stomach makes. Similar to the gurgling noises produced when a human experiences an upset stomach, the noise made by a dog's stomach may signal difficulty in digesting food. While stomach noises aren't exclusive to acid reflux, combined with other symptoms they are possible indicators, as noted by "The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Dog's Symptoms."
Dogs with acid reflux lose weight. This can be attributed to one of several causes. Dogs with acid reflux might lose interest in their food or purposely avoid food to avoid the pain associated with this condition. Other dogs become thinner because of a lack of proper nutrition caused by regurgitation.
Dogs with sores or ulcers in the throat may drool or slobber excessively. The dog's body produces more saliva as a protective and reactionary measure to protect and soothe the throat from sores and ulcers according to "Veterinary Nursing."
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- "The Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians"; Joanna Bassert, Dennis McCurnin; 2009
- "Clinical Anatomy and Physiology for Veterinary Technicians"; Thomas Colville, Joanna Bassert; 2008
- "The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Dog's Symptoms"; Michael S. Garvey D.V.M., Anne E. Hohenhaus D.V.M., John E. Pinckney D.V.M., Katherine A. Houpt D.V.M; 1999
- "Veterinary Nursing"; D.R. Lane, B. Cooper; 2003