My almost 3 year old French Bulldog has severe acid reflex. This past November, he just started throwing up bile and foam during the night and during the day, several times a day. He could not go more than a couple hours without eating. If he did he would vomit. Otherwise he was fine. Eating, eliminating, playing, drinking, etc.. However, one of these episodes caused him to aspirate his vomit and landed him in the ER for 4 days.
Since then, we have run blood work checking kidneys and liver values, which came back negative and within normal range, had x-rays of his abdomen, which showed a weakened esophageal sphincter, tested his stool for parasites, which was negative as well. The vet said change his diet so we did.
We have tried diet changes and medication and he still occasionally has reflex causing him to vomit. He eats five meals a day, about 4-5 hours apart. We bought him an automatic feeder so he can have food on a specific schedule. He was eating grain-free food but the vet wanted to switch him to something with lower protein and fat contents. We feed him Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb and Rice food as it is low in both. We are pretty sure he is allergic to poultry so we avoid that in both food and treats. He also takes the generic version of prilosec, once a day, 10mg. We also give a probiotic daily.
The constant feeding seemed to help, but he will still randomly vomit from time to time. Maybe twice a month at most. Is there anything else I can do? The vet said we can try a specialist gastro vet who would stick a camera down his stomach, but it’s expensive, invasive and it might very well show nothing useful.
Any advice would be great. We love our little guy and want him to feel 100%
I would take your vet’s advice and see a specialist. At least you will have a diagnosis and and hopefully an effective treatment plan.
Hi Marina. So glad your Frenchy is doing better! If you’re not already doing it, try digestive enzymes. I use Mercola’s and this has been a huge help for my 2-year old Pom with similar issues. All the things you’ve done have made all the difference for us too: lower protein and fat, limited ingredients, no poultry (for us turkey and egg specifically), and I give healthy snacks every 4 hours and before bed. Your Natural Balance diet – is that all dry? Kibble is the most difficult for dogs to digest. Can you substitute some of that with some good canned (without carrageenan) or raw? Keeping the fat low of course. We feed half dehydrated raw and half low-fat kibble and that works great. And lastly, any plans to wean your boy off the Prilosec? (I know alot of vets and owners swear by the acid reducers and PPIs but there are others that say not enough stomach acid can cause the sphincters to malfunction. Pepcid seemed to make my dog worse after a few days, although it helped my older dogs with other issues.) Best of luck and please keep us posted!
Here’s another take on acid reflux that is supported by many. This is from the website reflux.org and is written by a medical doctor – the bio says this about this doctor “Dr. Stephen Wangen is the co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Center. He
lectures nationally and is the author of two books, “The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution,”
and the recently released “Healthier Without Wheat: A New Understanding of Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance.”
Dr. Wangen writes
“However, it’s not just a dairy allergy that can cause reflux. As we already discussed, gluten intolerance is also known to trigger reflux. (Note that reflux can be the only presenting symptom of celiac disease, the most researched form of gluten intolerance. But also note that you do not have to have celiac disease to be gluten intolerant.) In fact, any food can potentially trigger reflux. And the right kind of testing will point to the relevant food(s). But there are certain foods that come up more often than others as allergens. The top four food allergies that result in reflux are:
Dairy Egg Soy Gluten
But remember, it’s not the food that is the real problem. The real issue is how your body is reacting to that food rather than anything inherently bad in the food itself.” https://www.reflux.org/reflux/webdoc01.nsf/487b3ba0c2f1a4ff85256ff30009f061/cc3c84cff50a7a0b8525764e005d879b/$FILE/2009%20Summer%20Reflux%20Digest%20final%20to%20upload.pdf
Although these four foods may be the most likely to cause acid reflux, they are not the only ones that do. Additionally continuing the acid reducer can create further issues as acid is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for protein digestion. Protein malnutrition can happen with long term use of these acid reducers and a whole host of new symptoms can be caused by protein malnutrition. B12 absorption is also dependent on adequate acids in the stomach and B12 malnutrition will also cause some unusual and problematic symptoms.
Here’s another doctor on acid reflux (and heartburn) if interested. This is in humans but holds true for our pets too.
“The Myth About Heartburn
It’s commonly believed that heartburn is the result of overeating. And although 116 million Americans may overeat, the size of the meal has no scientific correlation with the frequency of heartburn.
Then we must be producing too much stomach acid, you say. Having too much acid production is very rare. In fact, the opposite is the case. In most people, stomach acid decreases with age.
What Causes Heartburn?
In order to cure acid reflux disease, you must remove the cause of the problem and promote the healing process. The following are the most common causes:
Food allergies: In my practice I have found that a majority of cases of heartburn are caused by food allergies. Food allergies often cause a host of other problems and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
Foods: certain foods cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, thus leading to heartburn. These include peppermint, coffee, alcohol and chocolate.
Hiatal hernia: This is a physical condition where part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm. It can generally be reduced without surgery, though even when present it is not necessarily the sole cause of heartburn
Low Acid Production: Ironically, low stomach acid levels can result in heartburn. This is much more common than increased acid. This problem can be assessed clinically and is readily treatable.
Medications: Many medications cause heartburn as a side-effect, including, several acid blockers. These include:
Acid Blockers: Prevacid, Prilosec, Zantac, etc.
Asthma inhalers (beclamethasone, flovent, etc).
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
Antianxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan).
Osteoporosis drugs such as alendronate (Fosamax).” http://www.centerforfoodallergies.com/gerd.htm#part1
For my dog, it is definitely food sensitivities. He only has these issues when he is on foods with any kind of grain in them.
Thanks to everyone for the advice and information. I took Beans to an internal specialist today and they did an endoscopy (put a camera down through his mouth and into the stomach). They found that he does have a loose esophageal sphincter, but also has a sliding hiatal hernia. They want to try medically managing the hernia first, before considering surgery, which is fine by me. I’m glad I have a concrete diagnosis and an anatomical reason for this acid reflux and vomiting. Will keep working on his diet and hopefully we can manage this without having to resort to surgery!
Hi Marina, did they also do biopsies?? I wonder how they found the Sliding Hernia & how the knew Sphincter is loose?? when Patch has Endoscope they did 2 biopsies & said everything looked excellent, biopsies showed he has Lymphocytic Gastritis with associated spiral bacteria infection (Helicobacter-pylori) after meds Patch still regurgitated raw & cooked meals & gets bad acid reflux after regurgitating the food into his mouth…. kibble is the only food that stays down when he burps but kibble gives him acid reflux sometimes. I’m learning it’s best to give lower carb, low fiber & low fat kibble & limited ingredients & some meals cooked, I feed 4 small meals a day…..Was Beans put on any ant acid medications like a pump proton inhibitor (PPI) Losec or Reglan to move the food along & out of stomach quicker ?
I have Barretts Esophagus & was put on Motilium & Somac a PPI, 80mg a day that’s a very high dose but it stopped my bad reflux, the Motilium didn’t really work, I didn’t notice anything great happening also Patch was put on Motilium you have Reglan in America, the Motilium gave Patch a bad fermenting smell coming up from the stomach into his mouth & vet said Stop the Molitium….. I cant lay down to sleep, I have to sleep sitting up & cant bend over after eating, its awful, I feel for Beans & Patch….I make sure Patches bed is raised where his head goes, so his bum is lower then his head & if he turns around in his sleep, I move the pillow under his head so its raised…. I’m glad you had the Endoscope done, you feel relieved when you get some answers….
Please post what works for beans in his diet…. I’ve just been rotating & changing Patches kibble every month for some reason he cant stay on the same kibble for more then 1 month….
When my girl was having GI issues her specialist said to stop giving her raw anything. He says the bacteria in the raw aggregates the intestines. She hasn’t had any raw food or goat milk in 3 months and is doing the best she’s been in more than a yr.
My dogs aren’t on a 100% raw diet. They get some raw fairly regularly. But they are all on commercial foods.
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