Regurgitation in dogs refers to the process in which the stomach contents begin to move backwards up the esophageal track and back into the mouth of the dog. This particular condition can be inherited (congenital) or acquired. If it is acquired it can come from a variety of causes.
This condition is treatable with modifications to the animal's diet as well as with medications. It is usually not fatal but can lead to other more serious problems and a veterinarian should be consulted if the condition persists for more than a day.
The following is a list of common symptoms that are associated with regurgitation. Not all of these symptoms may be present at the same time. More often than not, one or two symptoms are usually noticeable when you notice your dog regurgitating.
- Runny Nose
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- A ravenous appetite
- Swelling in the neck
- Increased breathing noises
- Weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
Causes of Regurgitation
There are many causes of regurgitation but the following are at the top of the list:
- An acquired esophageal disease. This cause of regurgitation may in turn be caused by an enlarged esophagus, cancer, a tumor, a narrowing of the esophagus, a hiatal hernia, or autonomous nervous system problems
- Congenital, or hereditary, problems with the esophageal tract
- Problems with the throat that is often present at birth
- Acquired throat problems which may involve foreign bodies present in the esophageal tract, rabies, myopathy (muscle disease), and poisoning
Regurgitation can occur in any breed of dog. However, the following breeds are more susceptible than others:
- Great Dane
- German Shepherd
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Irish Setter
- Labrador Retriever
- Chinese Shar-Pei
The first step in diagnosing regurgitation is to determine whether vomiting alone has caused the symptoms that are associated with regurgitation. If not and the condition has been going on for a while, your veterinarian will then examine the throat area of the animal in order to determine the extent of any long-term damage. This will give the veterinarian an indication of what medications to prescribe for the animal to live comfortably.
If the condition has been going on for quite some time the veterinarian will probably order some X-rays or other forms of diagnostic imaging. This will help to determine any other forms of internal damage for proper treatment.
Treatment of Regurgitation
The usual method of treatment for regurgitation is experimenting with the dog's diet. Usually this will reduce the amount of regurgitation but will not eliminate it. Medication may also be prescribed by the veterinarian.
In most cases, regurgitation is an ongoing problem and requires ongoing treatment and therapy. The dog will require periodic regular visits to the veterinarian so that the condition can be controlled properly.
The most important method of managing this disease is through an ongoing regiment of medications and diet management. Other forms of therapy may be suggested by your veterinarian also.
There are many types of medications that can help to prevent regurgitation. Also, if the animal contracts pneumonia because of regurgitation the veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.
For breeds that are susceptible to regurgitation it is important to maintain a well-balanced diet and to have your veterinarian check for any signs of the disease at each visit.