Gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs: symptoms and treatment

Gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs: symptoms and treatment

Gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs

Gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs refers to inflammatory lesions that occur in the deepest layers of the gastrointestinal tract and go beyond the protective mucosa. These painful lesions occur when the mucosa lining is compromised, letting the digestive acids hit against the stomach and intestinal tissues.

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Causes of gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs

Among the causes of this disorder in dogs, we usually find infections, toxic substances, and diseases. The ingestion of a toxic substance is the most common cause for the development of the condition. This is why you should be careful about what are the toxic substances that can be within the reach of your dog.

Some toxic substances that might cause ulceration in dogs include:

  • Toxic plant and human foods
  • Chemical poisons
  • Pesticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Drugs for humans
  • Ingestion of a sharp object

There are some common household items and poisonous plants dogs in your house or backyard that are toxic to your dog.

Some of the conditions that may also be causing ulceration in your dog include:

  • Bastroesophageal reflux
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Gastrointestinal parasites

Some diseases known to affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause ulcers are:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease or failure
  • Addison’s disease
  • Infectious diseases
    • Bacteria that can cause ulcers in dogs include: Helicobacter, salmonella, campylobacter, and Clostridium piliform
    • Viral infections include: canine rotavirus, canine coronavirus, canine parvovirus, and canine astroviruses
    • Fungal infections may be: Candida albicans, phycomycetes, and histoplasma capsulatum

There is also a plethora of congenital diseases and inherited disorders that may be the cause of gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs. Unbalanced diets, chronic dehydration, stomach injuries, and severe trauma are some environmental potential causes.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal ulceration in dogs

Very rarely will a dog show no symptoms of ulcers. Over time, most dogs will show the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting in dogs
  • Dog diarrhea
  • Tachycardia
  • Melena (dark, tarry tools due to the presence of blood)
  • Anemia
  • Pale gums
  • Mucous in stools
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness


Most of the drugs used to treat the disease help to regulate stomach acid to allow the lesions to heal. It is important to also treat the underlying causes of ulceration.

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