How do I Know if My Dog has Acid Reflux?

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The type and intensity of symptoms related to acid reflux may vary from dog to dog, depending on the severity and frequency of the episodes. It can be difficult to diagnose by physical examination and other diseases may need to be ruled out first.

The first step in diagnosis will rely on you knowing your dog and what is normal or abnormal for it. If he vomits regularly after eating, ask yourself if the dog is vomiting or regurgitating. Vomiting is usually accompanied by retching and an obvious physical effort to bring up the food; regurgitation is more like spitting up, where the dog may cough slightly and bring up undigested food, with little to no retching and heaving.

Observe your dog while eating. When he eats, does he seem to whine or cry when swallowing foods? Your dog may also refuse or be reluctant to eat and experience associated weight loss. Other dogs may vomit up small amounts of bile after eating. In severe cases they may drool excessively and even run a fever.

The most definitive diagnostic procedure that your veterinarian can perform is to insert an endoscope into your dog’s esophagus. The camera on the scope can check the lining of the esophagus for inflammation or ulcerations. It may also help the detect changes in the mucus lining the esophagus that indicate acid reflux.

Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s symptoms. Together, you can establish the best way to determine if your pet is suffering from acid reflux, and get him on the road to recovery.

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