“And again, my pet isn’t eating anything”
“Well, my pet is eating but not much.”
“Just that my pet doesn’t feel good sometimes and is not eating properly”,
Are you having the same doubts in your mind? Is your pet fussy at times? Does your pet feel anorectic and decides to go on a hunger strike? What is wrong with my pet!
It gets difficult as it is painful for you-the owners to see their pets in distress or discomfort. Well, in that case, your pet might have simple indigestion which could also be due to something as minor as acidity to something as major as a Liver Malfunctioning. Yes, indigestion in the pet is really rather common malfunctioning disorder of the Gastrointestinal tract and with apt diagnosis and management, your pet gets back on track! In this blog, let’s unravel the causes of indigestion, symptoms-signs that your pet might show, and more FAQs and doubts. Let’s dive in!
Tanvi Shendye, Final Year Student, Bombay Veterinary College
WHAT IS INDIGESTION?
Indigestion is also called ‘dyspepsia’ or upset stomach, and Indigestion literally means “digestion malfunctioning”. It is a general term used for upper abdominal discomfort and disorder. Indigestion is not really a disease, but rather some series of symptoms that your pet experiences. Indigestion is often a sign of some underlying problem.
💡 It’s important to note that Indigestion or upper abdominal discomfort can be due to the stomach primarily or the Liver as anatomically Liver organ is also located in the upper abdominal region.
WHAT CAUSES INDIGESTION?
Indigestion primarily occurs due to :
- Stomach malfunctioning or disease
- Liver diseases
- Concurrent infections which may cause Indigestion
- Use of medicines that causes dyspepsia
Let’s check these conditions out one by one.
STOMACH MALFUNCTIONING OR DISEASE.
Due to ongoing disease of the stomach or due to simple malfunctioning of the stomach, abdominal discomfort and Indigestion occurs.
- Eating the wrong type of food.
Does your pet give you a “puppy eye look” and demand hot spicy masala human food?
Eating human food is not good for the tender stomach of our dogs and cats. As they have different systems and so, the functioning of the stomach differs significantly. Human spicy food items are not good for pets as it may cause acidity or indigestion. Hence it’s essential that the food that you offer to your pets is good for them, healthy, and definitely not loaded with spices and sauces.
- Eating food too quickly.
If your pet has a habit of gulping food quickly, eating quickly, it’s likely that your pet might get Indigestion. As food doesn’t get churned efficiently in the mouth, it may cause further problems with digestion. And thus, discomfort and distress occur.
- Gastric Acid Build-up and Reflux
Gastric Acid is responsible for the digestion of food that enters the stomach. This acid helps to digest the morsels of food that is chewed by the teeth. Sometimes, this acid is produced in excessive quantity causing distress to the stomach. As we know, anything in excess is poisonous (not good) to the body. Thus, an excessive amount of gastric acid can cause problems such as erosion of the gastric wall or if the sphincter of the stomach is loose, it may lead to gastric reflux causing the acid to enter the esophagus leading to Esophagitis and Esophageal ulcers.
Gastritis means Gastric inflammation or infection of the stomach. Gastritis can occur due to a variety of reasons primary causes being – bacterial infections, viral infections (such as parvovirus in puppies), eating hot food, or eating food that is not good or healthy for pets. Eating spicy food by puppies etc. Also, it’s important to note that gastritis occurs concurrently with Enteritis (inflammation of intestines) and thus, this condition is commonly referred to as – ‘Gastro-enteritis’. Thus, this condition too causes pain, discomfort, and indigestion as the natural good gut bacterias are destroyed and the intestines/stomach is damaged by pathogenic (disease-causing) bad bacterias.
- Over Eating
If your pet is eating too much than required, it will lead to Indigestion. The body has certain limits and capacity till which it can function optimally. Excessive feeding or overeating will definitely lead to Indigestion and stomach upset.
The liver secretes bile which is important for the digestion process.
Digestion is a complex process and needs all accessory organs to function optimally for best results and proper digestion. If one organ is affected, the entire system gets affected. Thus, If the liver is affected due to some disease-causing pathogens or is having functional problems, it will lead to hampering of the entire digestion process leading to discomfort, pain in the abdomen, Indigestion.
Infection of the esophagus, intestines pancreas or liver will hamper the digestion process. Thus it’s important to rule them out while assessing Indigestion symptoms
Also, anxiety stress may cause Indigestion as the sudden change in environment or food may lead to stress-causing Indigestion and mental shock causing further problems.
USES OF MEDICINES THAT CAUSES DYSPEPSIA
Although, not so common, but certain Medicines such as prednisolone may cause increased chances of acidity or gastric reflux.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF INDIGESTION TO WATCH OUT FOR?
- Burping or gurgling noise from the stomach.
It’s medically termed as borborygmi. You may notice and hear some sounds coming from the stomach which commonly is termed as gurgles or bubble-forming sounds. It is evident of Indigestion.
- Vomiting (yellow acid-like) with froth
Sometimes if you notice vomiting (without food) which is generally clear yellow straw colored it may be due to acidity along with white froth (like mucus)
- Bad breath
Due to Indigestion, acidity, and vomiting, bad breath ensues.
- Anorexia and Loss of appetite
Due to Infection or Indigestion as such, your pet may feel anorectic and would be rather dull ignoring the food.
You can read further about anorexia in pets in our previous blog.
- Weight loss
If Indigestion episodes are recurring, the body won’t get proper nutrition or efficient nutrition leading to weakness and loss of weight
- Pain (whining or howling)
Indigestion is painful at times and partly due to pain, your pet won’t eat normally and it’s an extremely distressing situation for them.
- Inactivity and lethargy.
Your pet may show signs of being dull overall. Isolating itself, sitting laying down, sleeping all day may be few signs you may observe in case of Indigestion.
- In severe cases and concurrent infections, fever, diarrhea, etc may also be observed.
Bloating refers to excessive gas built up inside the stomach. It may be due to acidity as well as eating food rather quickly. You may notice a bulge in the stomach area as the gas builds up.
- Eating leaves or grass
It’s a natural remedy that your dog already knows! By default, dogs eat leaves such as Tulsi or grass when they’re having an upset stomach. It’s a natural instinct and thus, hints towards Indigestion!!
HOW TO DIAGNOSE AND MANAGE THIS CONDITION?
Indigestion is rather a common condition affecting pets. However, it is essential to know what is causing this. To get right at the root cause and treat the root cause will lead to better results and efficient recovery.
- Your Vet may suggest a routine blood checkup to rule out other Infections
Sometimes the diseases occurring concurrently may mask certain conditions. To learn effectively the cause of Indigestion it’s essential to know whether there are other Infections causing Indigestion or if it’s simply due to acidity. A complete blood count test (CBC) along with LFT (Liver Function Test) is important to rule out liver disorders or parasitic infections, etc.
Ultrasonography is a good tool to diagnose tumors, excessive growth of stomach walls, sloughing of walls (due to excessive gastric acid), ulcers in the stomach or esophageal region, etc.
Based on the history of signs and symptoms that your pet may be showing, a good diagnosis can be made. Diagnosis is based partly on history as well! Hence it’s essential that you give the proper and complete history of the signs that your pet exhibits.
MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT :
Based on the apt diagnosis, proper and best treatment and management can be done.
Management protocol involves –
- Human food with spices to be strictly forbidden. Your pets should not be allowed to eat food that is spicy with sauces etc.
- Regulate food intake- Giving food at properly spaced timings is a good management practice. Adult dogs should be fed twice to thrice a day while puppies should be fed depending on their age (in months). Also, it’s important to feed your pets limited quantity as required by their body (based on growth needs) do not feed excessively or more frequently.
- Allopathic Treatment involves antacids (anti-acidity drugs), pro-kinetics (to prevent gastric acid reflux and strengthening the gastric sphincter), antibiotics to cover pathogenic bacterias along saline to cover up fluid loss and dehydration.
Homeopathic Treatment of Indigestion in pets –
Our product R.BLOATASULE for PETS is effective and efficient in treating bloating, pain, and Indigestion in pets. At times during emergency situation at night when approaching a vet is difficult, you can manage this condition at home till the time you get help from your local veterinarian. R.BLOATASULE for pets is the best remedy for symptoms like indigestion, vomiting, eating of inanimate objects, stomachache, etc. It is the best Homeopathic Veterinary Medicine for dogs and cats in cases of uneasiness during nights or when approaching a veterinarian is difficult.
Dosage: 20 drops 3 times a day or as directed by the veterinarian
Indigestion is an extremely painful condition for your pets and the management along with treatment is extremely simple and easy. Proper Diagnosis is the Key. Be sure to get your pets checked up by a Veterinarian and explain the entire history of signs, symptoms to your vet properly as it is an important tool in helping your pet as it forms the basic foundation of diagnosis. Our product R. Bloatasule is excellent in the management and treatment of Indigestion in pets along with the conventional medical treatment with allopathy medicines.
Here’s to our pets, Let there be giggles of joy and not gurgles of Indigestion!
Happy Pets for a Happy You!